BEIJING — U.S. Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen met Sunday with Chinese Premier Li Qiang in Beijing and sent a message of mutual cooperation despite the nations’ differences.

Yellen came to China top of mind with trade practices that put American companies and workers at an unfair competitive disadvantage.

In the ornate Fujian room of Great Hall of People building just west of Tiananmen Square, she told Li: “While we have more to do, I believe that, over the past year, we have put our bilateral relationship on more stable footing.”

“This has not meant ignoring our differences or avoiding tough conversations,” she said. “It has meant understanding that we can only make progress if we directly and openly communicate with one another.”

Li said media interest in Yellen’s visit “shows the high expectation they have … and also the expectation and hope to grow” the U.S.-China relationship.

The meeting comes after the U.S. and China on Saturday agreed to hold “ intensive exchanges ” on more balanced economic growth, according to a U.S. statement issued after Yellen and Chinese Vice Premier He Lifeng held extended meetings over two days in the southern city of Guangzhou.

They also agreed to start exchanges on combating money laundering. It was not immediately clear when and where the talks would take place.

“As the world’s two largest economies, we have a duty to our own countries and to the world to responsibly manage our complex relationship and to cooperate and show leadership on addressing pressing global challenges,” Yellen said.

Yellen also met Sunday with Beijing Mayor Yin Yong and told him that “local governments play a critical (economic) role, from boosting consumption to addressing overinvestment,” adding that Beijing is particularly important in China.

“I believe that to understand China’s economy and its economic future, engagement with local government is essential,” Yellen said.

Later Sunday, Yellen will meet with students and faculty at Peking University.

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