Schumer to Lead Senate Delegation to China Amid Tensions


Senator Chuck Schumer, the majority leader, is planning to lead a bipartisan delegation of senators to China this fall, making him the highest-level congressional official and the latest senior statesman to visit the United States’ rival superpower as the Biden administration attempts to address tensions with Beijing through an all-out diplomatic push.

The delegation, which Mr. Schumer will lead alongside Senator Michael D. Crapo, Republican of Idaho, also plans to make stops in Japan and South Korea, according to spokespeople for both senators’ offices. The planned visit was reported earlier by Punchbowl News.

The trip is being planned as the Biden administration pursues a delicate two-part strategy of trying to engage senior Chinese officials while also imposing restrictions on American investments in China’s high-tech industries, which are believed to be fueling Beijing’s military ambitions. Mr. Schumer has been supportive of the approach, cheering on the restrictions in particular as important steps to reduce China’s ability to threaten U.S. national security.

Mr. Schumer has long been a hawk when it comes to China, with a record of blasting Beijing for currency manipulation, unfair trade practices and aggressive actions against Taiwan. As majority leader, he shepherded passage last year of legislation investing tens of billions of dollars in the American semiconductor industry as a means of reducing reliance on Beijing. He is now pushing to impose sanctions on China for its role in fentanyl trafficking and to rally senators around strategies to outpace China in the realm of artificial intelligence.

On Wednesday morning, he kicked off a forum on A.I. with a warning about China’s rise.

“Other governments, including adversaries like China, are investing huge resources to get ahead,” Mr. Schumer said. “We could fall behind, to the detriment of our national security.”

Yet while Mr. Schumer has pursued a hard line with China, he has been more circumspect than other congressional leaders when it comes to diplomatic gestures, avoiding the sort of engagements with Taiwan that have inflamed relations with Beijing.

In the past two years, Speaker Kevin McCarthy, Republican of California, and his predecessor Nancy Pelosi, Democrat of California, have arranged visits with President Tsai Ing-wen of Taiwan, with Ms. Pelosi traveling to Taiwan and Mr. McCarthy hosting Ms. Tsai at the Ronald Reagan Presidential Library in Simi Valley, Calif. Mr. Schumer has not visited Taiwan as majority leader and did not meet with Ms. Tsai during her tour of the United States earlier this year.

Earlier this month, Mr. Schumer also dismissed the suggestion that Congress might follow the example of the British Parliament and begin recognizing Taiwan as an independent country, telling reporters, “The present situation is where we should stay.”

Mr. Schumer’s delegation to China would follow recent visits by Secretary of State Antony J. Blinken, Treasury Secretary Janet L. Yellen, Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo and the climate envoy John Kerry.

It is set to be only the second official international trip that Mr. Schumer has led since becoming majority leader in 2021. The first, a trip to Europe, India, Pakistan and Israel, took place in February.

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