US Republicans | Credits: NY Times
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Republicans urge Biden to demand release of detained Americans during Biden-Xi meet

Washington, United States: The much-anticipated meeting between US President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping is around the corner and the Republicans in the US Congress have asked the president to make demands over detained Americans.

They further argued that the push by Washington to engage Beijing has “negligible benefits,” according to the reports by Reuters.

As both countries have been looking forward to the betterment of diplomatic ties, which were destroyed after a suspected Chinese spy balloon flew over the US, there are expectations that following the Biden-Xi meeting during the sidelines of APEC Forum 2023, there will be a series of unreciprocated US-China cabinet-level meetings.

Various strategies have been presented by Republicans and Democrats in Congress to address China’s increasing economic and military powers, even though there is an agreement across party lines about the necessity of taking action.

Letter by House of Representative’s bipartisan select committee for Biden

President Joe Biden gathered praise from the 13-membered House of Representatives’s bipartisan select committee on China of Republicans. The committee is led by chairman Mike Gallagher.

US President Joe Biden | Credits: Getty Images

Through a letter, it lauded the president for enhancing controls on semiconductor exports and imposing restrictions on investments going to China. The letter was shared in the public domain on Thursday, November 9.

In addition to this, they also asked Biden to present a list of 10 demands for improvement of the diplomatic relations – a similar act was done by Beijing authorities to US officials in 2021.

Some of the demands written in a letter were:

– Release of Americans that the United States considers wrongfully detained.

– Take steps over the flow of chemicals used in the opioid fentanyl

– Stop giving push to South China Sea conflict, decrease harassing Philippines ships

– Cease unsafe intercepts of US ships and aircraft in international waters

The lawmakers expressed agreement with Biden’s aim to prevent a conflict. However, they raised concerns that the president’s focus on engagement had led to an “unacceptable cost” in terms of “delayed, scuttled, or otherwise dropped” competitive or defensive actions.

They mentioned, “So far, these very real tradeoffs have led to negligible benefit,” the reports by Reuters suggested.

In addition to this, the letter addressed that Beijing has not taken any step to stop military provocation in the South China Sea or Taiwan – a territory claimed by China as its own.

The US lawmakers mentioned that there have been recent steps taken concerning China, particularly on human rights matters. They noted that for almost two years, the US had not applied sanctions on Chinese officials regarding the decline of Hong Kong’s autonomy or accusations of rights violations in the Xinjiang region of China.

Additionally, they highlighted that there were no expansions of trade restrictions under the Treasury Department’s Chinese Military-Industrial Complex Companies List during this period.

“It is clear that competitive actions have been sacrificed to advance aimless, zombie-like engagement,” they mentioned in a letter.

However, it has been noted that the allegations about human rights abuses haven’t been confirmed by China.

Which American families are “wrongfully” detained by China

According to the US government, the American families who are classified as wrongfully detained in China include Texas-based businessman Mark Swidan, Chinese-American Kai Li and pastor David Lin. Their families have repeatedly asked the government to prioritize the release.

To this, China responds that these cases are handled according to law.

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