US delegation 'tests China's stance' by raising concerned issues
Washington urged to take concrete actions to improve ties
Published: Oct 08, 2023 09:41 PM
China US Photo:VCG

China US Photo:VCG

A US delegation of bipartisan lawmakers led by Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer continued its visit to Shanghai on Sunday, which analysts said was "testing the waters" on China's stance on issues such as fentanyl and "fair treatment" of US companies. Analysts noted that the US should be sincerer in its efforts to improve relations other than using tactical adjustments to test China.

The delegation arrived in Shanghai on Saturday afternoon, the first leg of a three-country tour in East Asia, ahead of its stops in South Korea and Japan.

On Saturday afternoon, Chen Jining, secretary of the Shanghai Municipal Committee of the Communist Party of China, met with the delegation during which Chen said that the China-US relationships are most consequential in the world today, and healthy and stable bilateral ties are beneficial to both countries and the world. 

While claiming that the US is "prepared to compete" but "do not seek to conflict," Schumer raised the issue of fentanyl and accused Chinese companies of "fueling the fentanyl crisis that is poisoning communities" in the US during his meeting with Chen.

He also mentioned the need for "reciprocity, allowing American companies to compete as freely in China as Chinese companies are able to compete here," media reported. 

Refuting Schumer's remarks on fentanyl, Li Yong, a senior research fellow at the China Association of International Trade, said that China has already taken multiple measures regarding the issue of fentanyl, and the US cannot just turn a blind eye to the great efforts that China has made. 

Fentanyl use has become a major social issue in the US, which, however, cannot be linked to China. Although various communications have been conducted by the two governments, the US considers the issue from the perspective of smearing China, Li said.  

When it comes to fair treatment of the US firms, such as Micron Technology's capacity to conduct business in China, Li said that China handled the issues related to Micron in accordance with the Chinese law. 

While talking about the issues with Micron, Schumer did not mention that the US has added 42 Chinese companies to its export control list, Li pointed out. The Chinese observer said that the US did not consider about fair treatment when targeting Chinese enterprises. 

During the meeting with Schumer, Chen noted that China welcomes American companies to deepen their presence in the vast Chinese market through Shanghai. "We will continue to create a first-class business environment that is market-oriented, governed by the rule of law, and internationalized, and help companies achieve greater development through win-win cooperation," Chen said. 

The US congressional delegation's first stop was Shanghai, and given the issues Schumer raised when meeting with senior officials there, he wanted to "test the waters" by using those issues as means to learn more about China's attitude, Wang Wei, a research fellow from the Institute of American Studies of the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday. 

Wang said that the reason Schumer mentioned fentanyl and the so-called fair treatment of US firms is these issues are concerns of US voters and politicians, and raising those issues may have an influence in next year's presidential election. They might also believe that covering old issues from previous talks would not affect future engagement. 

Wang noted that the congressional delegation's trip to China, the first in four years, is symbolic as accumulated problems between China and the US cannot be resolved in a single trip.

Although recent weeks have witnessed a series of frequent high-level engagements between China and the US, some observers warned that Schumer's visit is more about aligning with the Biden administration's recent "tactical" adjustments to enhance engagements with China while the essence of its China policy remains unchanged, with moves to contain China ongoing. 

The US is voicing that it has been making more of an effort to communicate with China than China has with the US, which is not true, Li said. Li noted that the US has failed to respond to concerns raised by the Chinese side with every official visit while China has been responding to US concerns.

China is open and did not prevent any possible means of communication, analysts said, while urging the US to take actions to truly improve relations.