A US delegation in Beijing had “serious engagement” with Chinese President Xi Jinping and senior officials on key issues, Senator Chuck Schumer said on Tuesday.
The Senate Majority Leader gave insights on a meeting between the visiting bipartisan congressional team and top Chinese officials, adding that “there seems to be a difference” in China’s current posture compared to previous engagement with US officials.
The visit aims to advance US economic and national security interests ahead of a potential summit between Xi and US President Joe Biden next month.
The United States and China are at odds over issues from Taiwan to trade, fentanyl and human rights. Biden has taken steps to restrict China’s access to sensitive US technology while at the same time seeking to keep communication channels open.
“There was serious engagement with President Xi and others,” Schumer said during a briefing at the Beijing residence of US Ambassador Nicholas Burns.
“We need to get results,” Schumer said.
Push for China official to rein in fentanyl trade
The United States last week announced actions against Chinese companies and individuals as it targets the trafficking of the deadly drug fentanyl, a major sticking point in US-China relations.
Schumer and other senators on the visit said they pressed Chinese officials on the issue.
Schumer said he “asked Xi to appoint a senior official on the China side” responsible for fentanyl, adding “they said they would look into that”.
Republican Mike Crapo, co-leader of the visit, said the meetings had been “remarkably successful”.
“We were candid and frank but respectful,” he told journalists. “We want the engagement to continue.”
Schumer said on Monday he urged Xi to support Israel after Saturday’s deadly attacks by Hamas, adding he was “disappointed” that Beijing showed “no sympathy” for the country over the weekend.
In response, China’s foreign ministry urged “relevant parties” to end hostilities and advocated “implementing the two-state solution”.
During Monday’s meeting, Xi said “competition and confrontation are not in line with the trend of the times”, according to a Chinese state media readout.
Schumer’s visit to Asia also includes stops in South Korea and Japan.
- Reuters with additional editing by Jim Pollard