House Republicans Urge Biden to Make Bold Demands of Xi

Republican lawmakers are urging U.S. President Joe Biden to adopt a firm stance against China during his upcoming meeting with Chinese leader Xi Jinping in San Francisco. This high-level encounter is scheduled to coincide with the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit, as confirmed by the White House.

In what will be their first dialogue in almost a year, Biden and Xi are expected to tackle issues such as trade, the situation in Taiwan, and the complex dynamics of the relationship between the United States and China.

Members of the House Select Committee on China, predominantly from the Republican party, have formally advised President Biden to confront China. This recommendation was put forth in a letter, which has been widely reported in the media. The letter outlines specific demands that Biden should present to Xi, including the release of American nationals wrongfully imprisoned in China, stopping military activities in Taiwanese airspace, implementing customer identification measures for fentanyl ingredient shipments, releasing pro-democracy activists in Hong Kong, and preventing dangerous encounters between Chinese and American naval vessels.

Representative Mike Gallagher, the committee’s chair, emphasized the need for a tougher U.S. stance if China fails to meet these demands. He noted that despite various concessions from the U.S., China has not reciprocated and continues to challenge key American interests. Gallagher’s remarks suggest that the U.S. should reconsider its engagement strategy with China if the latter remains unresponsive to fundamental concerns.

The Republican members support the administration’s efforts to avert a catastrophic conflict with China. However, they express reservations about the U.S.’s approach, believing it to be overly conciliatory without adequate reciprocation from China. They criticize Biden for not imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over the diminishing autonomy in Hong Kong and the treatment of Uyghur Muslims.

Biden and Xi’s previous encounter was at a G20 summit in Bali, Indonesia, in November 2022. The forthcoming meeting is viewed as a critical opportunity for addressing mounting tensions and reinforcing U.S. positions on key international issues.