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US Senators Arrive in China Seeking XI Meeting

SHANGHAI: A bipartisan delegation of United States lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer arrived in China on Saturday (Oct 7), the latest high-level US officials to visit China as Washington seeks to ease tensions with Beijing.

Schumer is set to meet with senior officials in Shanghai before heading to Beijing, where Bloomberg has reported his delegation is seeking a meeting with President Xi Jinping.

The delegation’s plane landed early afternoon in Shanghai, China’s economic powerhouse, where they were greeted by ambassador Nicholas Burns.

Asked about his expectations for the visit, Schumer said he was hoping for “very productive discussions”.

Accompanying Schumer is Republican Senator Mike Crapo, who represents the state of Idaho – home to chip giant Micron, currently in the crossfire of US-China disputes over semiconductors.

China has said it welcomes the delegation and that it hopes it enhances the lawmakers’ “understanding” of the country.

Beijing’s foreign ministry said the trip would “promote dialogue and exchanges between the legislative bodies of the two countries, and inject positive elements into the development of China-US relations”.

US media reported the group will seek to raise issues ranging from the climate for US businesses in China to human rights.

The delegation will also stop off in South Korea and Japan, The New York Times reported, citing the senators’ offices.

It is the latest in a series of visits by US officials to China, as both sides seek to defuse tensions across a range of security and economic issues that have been at their highest levels in years.

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.

“There has been no such meeting set up, but it is a possibility,” Biden told journalists after reports that they were set to meet during the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) summit in San Francisco.

Biden is set to host leaders from across the region on Nov 16 and Nov 17 in the California city, and speculation has mounted that it could be the venue for a rapprochement.

The White House had begun making plans for a meeting on the sidelines of the summit in a bid to stabilise relations, The Washington Post reported, quoting one official as saying “it’s pretty firm”.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi is expected to visit Washington at some point ahead of the APEC summit.

Source: CNA