Schumer to lead a bipartisan delegation of senators to China, South Korea and Japan next week

WASHINGTON – Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer is leading a bipartisan congressional delegation to China next week, traveling to the country amid heightened tensions and after several members of President Joe Biden’s Cabinet visited over the summer.

Schumer, along with Republican Sen. Mike Crapo of Idaho, is visiting government and business leaders in China, South Korea and Japan “with the goal of advancing U.S. economic and national security interests” in the region, his office said Tuesday.

Schumer — a long time critic of China — plans to talk to Chinese officials about human rights, concerns about Chinese-made fentanyl in American cities and China’s “role in the international community,” his office said, as well as areas for potential cooperation.

Since the administration resumed direct Cabinet-level visits to China this summer after the Chinese spy balloon floated over the country, the two sides have been working to arrange another summit between Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping. Despite continued U.S. unhappiness with China’s at least tacit support for Russia’s war in Ukraine and its increasingly aggressive actions toward Taiwan and in the South China Sea, a new Biden-Xi meeting is expected in mid-November on the sidelines of the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation forum to be held in San Francisco.

Secretary of State Antony Blinken visited China in June, followed by visits of Treasury and Commerce secretaries Janet Yellen and Gina Raimondo as well as climate envoy John Kerry.

Biden’s national security adviser Jake Sullivan also held two days of talks with China’s top diplomat Wang Yi in Malta last month. Wang is expected to visit Washington before the end of October on a trip that officials will nail down the date and venue of the expected Biden-Xi summit.

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Joining Schumer and Crapo on the trip will be Democratic Sens. Maggie Hassan of New Hampshire and Jon Ossoff of Georgia, along with Republican Sens. Bill Cassidy of Louisiana and John Kennedy of Louisiana.

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Associated Press writer Matthew Lee contributed to this report.