On Monday, China’s top diplomat expressed his hope that Washington and Beijing could handle their differences in a more rational manner as he met with visiting senior American lawmakers. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is the latest high-ranking American official to visit China as part of Washington’s efforts to alleviate tensions with Beijing. He is leading a delegation of six individuals, reportedly aiming to arrange a meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping.
Meeting with Schumer at Beijing’s Diaoyutai State Guesthouse, foreign minister Wang Yi told the senate delegation he hoped their visit would help the two sides “manage existing differences more rationally, helping the relationship between the two countries return to the track of healthy development”.
He also said he hoped they would “more accurately understand China” after the trip.
Schumer, in turn, thanked the Chinese delegation for their hospitality, noting there were several issues of “great concern” he was seeking to raise during his visit.
He said “a level playing field for American business and workers” was his delegation’s “number one goal”.
“Holding accountable China-based companies supplying deadly chemicals fueling the fentanyl crisis in America” was another objective, he told Wang, as was “ensuring China does not support Russia’s immoral war against Ukraine.”
“Advancing human rights” was an additional priority, Schumer said.
But he also said he was “very disappointed” by a Sunday statement from Beijing’s foreign ministry on the escalating violence between Israel and the Palestinians.
Beijing called Sunday for all sides to show “calm” and “cease fire immediately.”
It did not explicitly condemn a Palestinian attack, instead urging the establishment of a two-state solution to end the violence.
“The ongoing events in Israel over the past few days are horrific,” Schumer said.
“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn these cowardly and vicious attacks.
“The foreign ministry’s statement… showed no sympathy or support for Israel during these tough, troubled times,” he added.
Schumer met Saturday with Chen Jining, the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s chief official in Shanghai, according to a pool report, stressing the United States “does not want to decouple our economies.”
He is the latest high-level American official to visit China as Washington seeks to ease tensions with Beijing, which have flared in recent years over everything from trade to human rights.
Secretary of State Antony Blinken, Treasury and Commerce Secretaries Janet Yellen and Gina Raimondo, as well as climate envoy John Kerry, have all visited China this year.
And President Joe Biden Friday said he may meet Xi in San Francisco in November as Washington and Beijing push to reset ties, but added that nothing is scheduled yet.