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WASHINGTON: Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen was set Thursday to lay out the case for deeper economic ties with the Asia-Pacific region, ahead of an expected summit between the US and Chinese presidents.

In remarks prepared for delivery at an event in Washington, she argued that greater engagement boosts trade, jobs and security, both at home and abroad.

Her speech comes ahead of Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) meetings this month in San Francisco, with US President Joe Biden expected to meet Chinese leader Xi Jinping on the sidelines of the summit for the first time since they conferred in Bali last year.

“Our economic ties underpin our approach to the Indo-Pacific,” said Yellen.

“As we look toward APEC later this month, let me state unequivocally: Claims that America is turning away from the Indo-Pacific are wholly unfounded,” she added.

Yellen’s speech also takes place as US Secretary of State Antony Blinken is set to visit Japan, South Korea and India after his latest crisis visit to the Middle East — keeping a US focus on Asia.

The Biden administration is committed to boosting trade and investment with countries in the Asia-Pacific region, said Yellen, with almost a quarter of US global exports already headed to the area.

Making the case for trade expansion, she said this boosts production at home and allows US businesses to expand their operations and create more jobs.

Economic engagement is also key to bolstering US supply chain security, she said, citing the approach of “friendshoring,” or diversifying US supply chains across allies and partners.

Yellen stressed that the US is “pursuing economic integration while still protecting our national security interests through targeted actions where necessary.”

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