BEIJING: China’s top diplomat said Monday he hoped Washington and Beijing could manage their differences “more rationally” as he met with visiting senior American lawmakers.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is the latest high-level American official to go to China as Washington seeks to ease tensions with Beijing, leading a six-person team reportedly seeking a meeting with 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, which comes as the world is in a “turbulent period of change”.
“The crisis in Ukraine has not yet subsided, and warfare has reemerged in the Middle East,” he said.
“All these various challenges need to be addressed by the international community, and China and the United States should play their due roles,” Wang said.
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 fuelling 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 that has left hundreds in Israel dead, 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.
On Saturday, Schumer met with Chen Jining, the ruling Chinese Communist Party’s chief official in Shanghai, according to a pool report, where he stressed that the United States “does not want to decouple our economies”.
Schumer 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, but added that nothing has been scheduled yet.
Wang is expected to visit Washington ahead of the APEC summit.