Home World Schumer and others in Congress are planning an official visit to China

Schumer and others in Congress are planning an official visit to China

Schumer and others in Congress are planning an official visit to China

Two delegations of US lawmakers are planning trips to China this fall in what would be the latest in a series of high-level visits, encouraged by the Biden administration, as Washington debates how to address a seriously strained relationship with Beijing.

Senate Majority Leader Charles E. Schumer (D-N.Y.) and Sen. Mike Crapo (R-Idaho) hope to lead a bipartisan visit in October, spokesmen for the two senators said Tuesday. Rep. Ro Khanna (D-Calif.) told The Washington Post that he wants to organize a trip for House lawmakers.

In a statement stressing his “hope” to lead a delegation to China when the State Department deems it “appropriate,” Khanna, a member of the House Select Committee on the Communist Party of China, said he supports diplomacy with Beijing. He believes that “it is important to participate and establish open lines of communication between our two countries.”

The planned visit led by Schumer and Crapo was previously reported on Punchbowl News.

The Chinese Embassy in Washington did not respond to a request for comment.

The lawmakers’ travel preparations come as administration officials intensify their focus on trying to calm tensions with China. The two powers are locked in a heated trade war, and each side has warned of a possible military conflict in the future as their list of disagreements grows.

In recent months, the White House sent to Beijing Secretary of State Antony Blinken, who in June became the first senior US diplomat to visit China in five years. He was followed in July by Treasury Secretary Janet Yellen and President Biden’s special envoy on climate change, John Kerry. Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo went away in August.

To the frustration of many Republicans, the Chinese government has yet to reciprocate by sending any of its senior officials for talks in Washington.

American officials admit that the administration’s initiatives have so far yielded only modest results. At the same time, many members of the Republican Party criticized this outreach as misguided, even dangerous, as they support a US foreign policy guided by deterrence through military force.

The administration has taken steps to strengthen US military partnerships in the Indo-Pacific region, drawing criticism from Beijing, but the moves have done little to placate Republicans who have accused Biden of being soft on China.

Senate aides, speaking on the condition of anonymity to discuss the trip led by Schumer-Crapo, said the majority leader also extended invitations to Sens. Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), John Cornyn (R-Texas), and Mike Rounds (R-Texas). ). RD), Martin Heinrich (DN.M.) and Jeanne Shaheen (DN.H.). It was not immediately clear who from the House of Representatives might accompany Khanna.

Hagerty, who served as ambassador to Japan under President Donald Trump, said in an interview that he believed it was “unwise” to continue sending senior administration officials, and “certainly anyone from the U.S. Senate,” while the Chinese had not. Until now. He refused to follow suit.

“Anyone who has dealt with the Chinese Communist Party, as I have in the past, should know that you need to deal from a position of strength,” Haggerty added. “That’s not where we are now.”

He refused to say how he responded to Schumer’s invitation.

Cornyn, in a separate interview, said he told the majority leader that “I think something like this could be very important, but frankly not at this time.”

“What concerns me… is that you saw a number of Cabinet officials going there and it seemed like, frankly, they were running cows for the Chinese Communist Party,” he added, saying that the planned optics of the trip seemed “really questionable to me” and that it was not Sure of “what can actually be done”.

Rounds declined to say whether he had been invited or would consider visiting Beijing, but added that he would not “guess” which other members would do so. He noted that US lawmakers and government officials visit other countries that do not embrace American democracy but it is important to maintain relations with them.

However, Gwalt said he was not sure whether this outreach to China was effective. “I know there are people who really want to try to do everything they can to avoid conflict. I understand that. But there also has to be mutual respect for each other,” he said, noting that US officials who have visited so far “have not been well received.” “.

Spokesmen for Heinrich and Sahin said they, too, would not participate in the trip.

US-China relations collapsed earlier this year after the US military shot down a suspected Chinese spy balloon off the coast of South Carolina, revealing what the Biden administration later described as a sophisticated surveillance operation spanning “more than 40 countries across five continents.”

The White House did not respond to questions about possible congressional delegations.

Schumer rarely undertakes official travel abroad, underscoring the obvious importance of this trip to the administration. Earlier this year, he led a delegation to Germany, India, Pakistan and Israel. Before that, his last trip to China was in 2011, two years before Xi took office.

A growing group of China hawks in Washington have called for tougher economic policies toward Beijing, including measures to block American investment in Chinese companies that make military technology.

At a hearing Tuesday, Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), who chairs the Select Committee on China, warned of a scenario in which “the Chinese military could rain down missiles on our friends in Taiwan, and potential American service members, with weapons.” Which was financed by the Americans.”

“In short, we are at risk of financing our own destruction,” Gallagher said during the hearing held in New York to scrutinize the interconnection between the US economy and China.

In addition to calming tensions, the United States is also seeking to increase commercial flights between the two countries and find ways to combat the U.S. fentanyl crisis by targeting precursor chemicals that often originate in China, State Department officials said during Blinken’s visit in June.

Yellen said after her visit to Beijing that she spoke with Chinese officials about the government’s treatment of American companies operating in China, and its inappropriate use of state power to shape global markets. In contrast, Chinese officials have targeted US tariffs, implemented under Trump and continuing under Biden, and recent restrictions on trade and investment in sensitive technology.

Lee Ann Caldwell and Toulouse Olorniba contributed to this report.

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