Publicly, the US and China have turned down the heat recently on their relationship. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and Secretary of State Antony Blinken have both visited Beijing in recent weeks in part to improve communication between the two countries. “President Biden and I do not see the relationship between the United States and China through the framework of a great power conflict,” Yellen said at the end of her trip.

But the underlying reality is unchanged: the United States and China remain competitors for global supremacy. The two countries are great powers, and they are often in conflict.

Check out what’s happened since Yellen returned home on Sunday:

  • US officials announced that before Blinken’s trip last month, hackers apparently affiliated with the Chinese government broke into the email accounts of top US officials, including Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo, a well-known critic of China’s policies. The spy balloon that flew over the US earlier this year may have gotten more attention, but the hacking of high-level email accounts seems more belligerent.

  • Biden administration officials appear close to announcing rules that restrict American firms from investing in many cutting-edge Chinese technology companies. Activists say the rules are intended to prevent Americans from funding threats to US national security. Biden’s aides have held back on announcing the policy, in part to avoid disrupting the recent diplomatic achievement. (Here’s a Times story with more details.)

  • The United States continues to enforce a strict set of restrictions aimed at hindering China’s ability to produce advanced semiconductors. The Biden administration put the restrictions in place on October 7. “If you had told me about these rules five years ago, I would have told you that this is an act of war – we should be at war,” CJ said. Muse, a semiconductor expert at Evercore ISI, an investment advisory firm.

The Muse quote comes from a new Times Magazine article by Alex Palmer, and I recommend making time to read it this weekend. The article explains how the Biden administration is trying to prevent China from gaining access to cutting-edge semiconductors that are vital to many digital technologies. By doing so, the United States hopes to curb China’s efforts to build advanced weapons, develop artificial intelligence, and control its own citizens and people in other countries.

The US believes it can succeed, Alex writes, because the semiconductor industry is “a network of mutual interdependence, spread across the planet in highly specialized regions and companies, its feats made possible by supply chains of exceptional length and complexity.” The most sophisticated operations tend to be located in the United States or its allies, such as Japan, the Netherlands and Taiwan — three governments that all signed up to the Oct. 7 restrictions.

“The whole industry can only run on American inputs,” said Chris Miller, a professor at Tufts University. “In every facility that is remotely close to the cutting edge, there are American tools, American design software and American intellectual property throughout the process.” (Miller recently appeared on Ezra Klein’s podcast to talk about the global importance of semiconductors.)

So far, the semiconductor restrictions appear to be having an effect, analysts say. China is struggling to get as much advanced semiconductors as it needs and is instead trying to build up its domestic industry. Ultimately, it will probably succeed in doing so. By then, however, the United States and its allies hope to have run further.

The October 7 rules are a telling sign of how much US policy toward China has changed. For decades, presidents of both parties have vowed that economic engagement will benefit both China and the United States. As China grows richer, the politicians claimed, its development will provide jobs for American workers, while China itself will become a freer country and friendlier to the West. .

Only a few of those promises came true.

China did become richer. Its rise included probably the fastest decline in poverty in human history, improving the material living conditions of hundreds of millions of people. Many American investors and corporate executives also prospered as their companies became more profitable by moving parts of the supply chain to China and selling goods in China.

But China has become less democratic, not more, in the process. Its rise has also hurt millions of American workers more than it has helped them. One academic study uses the phrase “China shock” describe the devastating impact on manufacturing jobs and wages in many American communities over the past two decades. People in these same areas became more likely to vote for extremist political candidates, the researchers found in a follow-up study.

Now American policymakers of both parties more often treat China as the rival it has become. True, there are risks to this new approach – including actual war, which could be devastating. Both China and the United States will have to continue to cooperate on some issues, particularly climate change, even as they compete on many others.

By trying to keep the lines of communication open, Blinken, Yellen and their counterparts in Beijing can reduce the threat of misunderstanding and disaster. But they cannot change the fact that China and the United States are competitors, not allies. The two countries are indeed engaged in a great power struggle.

What follows: John Kerry, Biden’s special climate envoy, will arrive in China on Sunday to resume climate negotiations between the countries, the world’s two biggest polluters. Congressional Republicans accused Kerry in a hearing yesterday of being soft on China.

  • Thousands of people evacuated their homes in Delhi after monsoon rains killed nearly 100 others in neighboring states. See photos of the flood.

  • Extreme temperatures killed 10 people in Laredo, Texas. One man died in his truck, parked on a busy street with its hazard lights on.

Europeans have overcome obstacles to create an economic union and a common currency, and they can do the same for their military, Rajan Menon argues

The strawberry fields of Wimbledon: See photos of seasonal workers picking and packing the more than two million strawberries for the tournament.

Perfect shot: Marketa Vondrousova hit one of the best shots of Wimbledon. It sent her to the final, ending the run of the Ukrainian player Elina Svitolina.

The latest on James Harden: The disgruntled Philadelphia star still want outdespite rumors of a possible Sixers reunion.

Retired at 28: Blake Martinez could be playing linebacker in the NFL right now. Instead, he retired to sell Pokémon cards.

Dual function: In one week, two of the most anticipated films of the year hit cinemas: “Barbie” and “Oppenheimer”. Many fans plan to see both on the same day, enjoying the irony of seeing two star-studded films with such incongruous themes. One marketing manager told The Times that she and her friends planned their day “as the Lord himself intended: ‘Oppenheimer’ at 10am with a black coffee / ‘Barbie’ at 4.20pm with a large Diet Coke.”

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