Ahead of high-stakes meetings next week between the United States and China, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo dismissed the notion there would be a military conflict with China over Taiwan.
Both the United States and China “have a desire to stabilize (their) relationship,” Raimondo told CNN’s Christiane Amanpour in an interviewed that aired Saturday. Raimondo noted the world is looking to the United States and China “to be responsible and manage this relationship.”
Raimondo acknowledged there is a “great competition” with China, echoing similar sentiments expressed by President Joe Biden, who has stated the United States wants competition with China, rather than outright hostility and conflict.
She emphasized direct talks and open dialogue are key in preventing the breakdown of diplomacy between the two superpowers. “What I’m able to put onto the table is the fact that US businesses are feeling that China is increasingly uninvestable — because of (China’s) anti-espionage act, because of the lack of predictability and the environment, because of raids on US businesses — and at least give (China) an opportunity to respond and make changes,” she said.
At the same time, Raimondo said she has told China “there can be no negotiation when it comes to matters of national security,” particularly with regard to semiconductor chips used to manufacture advanced weapons.
“I have to use every tool in my toolbox to make sure our most sophisticated semiconductor chips (and) artificial intelligence models never get into the hands of the Chinese military,” she said.
Last month, the Commerce Department unveiled new rules limiting the types of semiconductors American companies are able to sell to China. The regulations further tightened a set of export controls that went into effect in October 2022.
“The US needs to stop politicizing and weaponizing trade and tech issues and stop destabilizing global industrial and supply chains,” spokesperson Mao Ning said at the time. “We will closely follow the developments and firmly safeguard our rights and interests.”
But according to Raimondo, there are more important aspects of the US-China economic relationship to consider and discuss.
“We have a $700 billion trading relationship with China. The vast majority — 99% of that — has nothing to do with export controls,” she said.
Biden is set to discuss some of those economic considerations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, as the two leaders meet for a summit in the San Francisco Bay Area. Also on the table are issues surrounding military communication between the United States and China, the climate crisis and narcotics trafficking.