Schumer criticizes China’s initial reaction to Hamas attack on Israel


During a news conference later on Monday, the ministry went a little further after reporters asked a flurry of questions, several referencing the New York senator, about China’s position on the erupting violence.

“We’re deeply saddened by the civilian casualties and oppose and condemn acts that harm civilians,” said spokesperson Mao Ning, who also expressed that China’s position remained consistent. “We oppose moves that escalate the conflict and destabilize the region and hope fighting will stop and peace will return soon.”

Schumer was accompanied on his weekend trip to China by five other U.S. senators, and the delegation follows several high-profile American politicians’ visits to the country amid troubled relations. It is the first visit of American lawmakers to China since 2019.

The senators’ meeting with Xi and other politicians from the top echelon of China’s ruling political class represents the summit of their trip, which was overtly planned as a way for U.S. leaders to raise concerns about China’s treatment of American businesses, as well as its role in the fentanyl crisis. The senators also plan to visit South Korea and Japan, whose leaders recently signed a trilateral compact with the U.S. in a clear response to China’s influence in the Pacific.

But the erupting violence in the Middle East came unexpectedly while the senators were abroad, and the spiraling violence has the potential to add further complexity between the two countries’ relations that have been battling for influence on the world stage. China in recent years has sought to become a bigger diplomatic player in the region, and it maintains close ties to several key players — notably Saudi Arabia and Iran.

“A bunch of us made the request that China use its influence in Iran to not allow the conflagration to spread,” Schumer said at a news conference later on Monday in Beijing, while also noting that China had “rectified” his ask around Israel.

Schumer said the senators also warned Chinese leaders about holding close ties with Russian President Vladimir Putin.

China maintains official relations with Israel and has deep ties with the Palestinians. It has refrained from labeling Hamas as a terrorist group. Xi met with the Palestinian president, Mahmoud Abbas, back in June, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu previously said he would travel to China later this year.

Burgess Everett contributed to this report.


Source link