House Republicans urge Biden to make demands of Xi Jinping ahead of meeting next week

WASHINGTON — Republicans on the House Select Committee on China sent a letter Wednesday to President Joe Biden ahead of his sch e dule d meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping next week, urging him to shift policy toward China and “challenge Beijing” to prove that it wants to improve relations with the U.S.

Committee Chair Rep. Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., who led the letter, outlined demands that Biden should make to Xi, which include stemming the flow of chemicals used to make fentanyl, releasing Hong Kong pro-democracy campaigner Jimmy Lai and others held by China, as well as ending near-collisions between Chinese and U.S. warships.

“If Xi fails to deliver, your administration must end its pursuit of zombie engagement and shift gears to a more assertive posture in order to defend American interests and values,” committee Republicans wrote.

Biden and Xi are expected to meet on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco next week. The last time the two spoke was in November 2022 in Bali, Indonesia, at a summit of the Group of 20 economies.

Details about Biden’s meeting with Xi have not yet been announced. The meeting comes after the president met with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the White House last month.

Republicans on the China committee said they agree with the Biden administration’s “desire to deter a devastating conflict” with China but expressed concerns that the U.S. has made too many concessions while not demanding enough from China.

Specifically, Republicans criticized Biden for not sanctioning Chinese officials for the “erosion of Hong Kong’s authority” or for its treatment of Uyghur Muslims in Xinjiang, in western China, which the U.S. and other Western governments have said amounts to genocide.

The letter was signed by all 13 Republicans on the committee. They said the committee is willing to work with the administration on these issues “to defend our nation and our values” against threats from the Chinese Communist Party.

The House China committee was created by an overwhelmingly bipartisan vote of the full House in January to focus on competition with the Chinese Communist Party. The committee adopted its first set of policy recommendations in May on how to prevent a military conflict in Taiwan and end the mistreatment of Uyghurs by the Chinese government.

Kyle Stewart

Kyle Stewart is an associate producer covering Congress for NBC News.

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