In an article previewing President Biden’s meeting with China’s Xi Jinping this week, Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen said the U.S. has “a pragmatic economic strategy: one that protects our vital national security interests while seeking a stable and healthy economic relationship” with Beijing. But in the perilous and fast-changing world of late 2023, Beijing doesn’t seem interested in that sort of balance. From supporting other authoritarians’ military efforts to trying to displace the U.S.-led global financial system, Mr. Xi is undermining the security of America and its allies. But China’s weakening economy offers an opportunity to win meaningful changes in Beijing’s policies. It will take a hard-line approach to get China’s attention.
Mr. Xi certainly won’t be soft in negotiations. He knows two major wars have sapped America’s diplomatic and military resources—in part because of China’s efforts.
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