In a significant development, US Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer expressed his gratitude for a more robust statement from China, condemning the killing and kidnapping of Israeli and foreign civilians by Hamas. This statement came during a bipartisan congressional visit to Beijing, which included extensive discussions with President Xi Jinping.
Schumer led a delegation of six senators to China with the aim of stabilizing bilateral ties, which had sharply deteriorated in recent years due to issues like trade disputes, US support for Taiwan, human rights concerns, and more. This visit, featuring three Democrats and three Republicans, marked the first by US lawmakers since 2019 and occurred at a time when there is increasing scrutiny of China in Congress, given its ascent as a global power.
During discussions with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, Schumer expressed his disappointment over China’s initial failure to strongly condemn the attack on Israel and express sympathy for the nation and its citizens.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning later stated that China was “deeply saddened by the civilian casualties caused by the conflict between Palestine and Israel.” Mao went on to say that China opposes and condemns acts harming civilians and those that escalate conflict and disrupt regional stability, surpassing an earlier statement by the Foreign Ministry.
Mao emphasized China’s hope for a resumption of peace talks, the implementation of a two-state solution, and a comprehensive and proper settlement of the Palestinian issue through political means, addressing the legitimate concerns of all parties.
The Chinese Embassy in Israel revealed that a young woman of Israeli and Chinese heritage had been kidnapped by Hamas during a peace music festival in southern Israel.
Schumer’s delegation also held discussions with various Chinese officials, including the head of China’s parliament, the commerce minister, and Foreign Minister Wang. While Xi’s comments were not immediately reported, Schumer noted that he had directly asked Xi to strengthen the Foreign Ministry’s statement on the Hamas attack and the loss of civilian lives, which was initially omitted.
The lengthy 80-minute meeting between Schumer and Xi highlighted the detailed nature of the discussions. Schumer stressed the need for reciprocal treatment and a level playing field for American businesses in China. He also called for measures to prevent the export of chemicals used to produce the drug fentanyl, which has fueled a deadly wave of addictions.
Both governments are working towards a meeting between Presidents Joe Biden and Xi Jinping during a regional summit in San Francisco next month in an effort to manage the increasingly complex US-China relationship.
While China traditionally supported the Palestinian cause, it has also strengthened ties with Israel in pursuit of broader roles in trade, technology, and diplomacy in the Middle East and beyond. Schumer’s top priority for the Senate delegation was fair trade between the US and China, urging China to create a level playing field for American companies and workers.
Foreign Minister Wang, on the other hand, urged the US to respect China’s core interests and development rights, a recurring theme as Beijing seeks to counter American restrictions on trade and technology exports, which it perceives as efforts to hinder its economic growth and global ascent.
You can also read: FedEx Plane Makes Emergency Landing in Tennessee After Landing Gear Fails
Schumer also called on China to withdraw its tacit support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine, emphasizing human rights and the release of detained Americans. Russian President Vladimir Putin’s upcoming visit to China was noted in this context, with China claiming neutrality in the Ukraine conflict but refusing to condemn Russia’s invasion and the resulting international sanctions.