WASHINGTON – U.S. Senator Ben Cardin (D-MD), Ranking Member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, issued the following statement following his meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping and senate leaders.
“The visit by President Xi serves as an important opportunity to continue and build a positive and cooperative relationship between our two nations. While we must expand upon areas of mutual interest, China must demonstrate through concrete actions its commitments to pursuing ongoing reforms and respecting international standards of human rights and the rule of law. Our relationship will only strengthen if China creates space allowing civil society groups and individuals to speak out freely without recrimination. At our meeting, I presented to the Chinese delegation a list of disturbing individual cases of arrested Chinese lawyers, activists, and journalists for further review and consideration.
“The U.S. – China relationship is an important and complex one, and I hope it continues to flourish. We must speak openly and honestly with each other on issues of mutual agreement but also on matters of disagreement, including cybersecurity concerns and the theft of Intellectual Property Rights. We must express directly that as an Asia-Pacific nation, we find China’s building of artificial islands in the South China Sea provocative. These actions threaten regional stability, disrupt the free flow of commerce, and require a peaceful diplomatic resolution to disputes that is consistent with international law.
“I hope the visit by President Xi to the United States will serve as a meaningful opportunity to discuss shared goals between nations, reflect upon our mutual accomplishments, but also allow for direct and meaningful dialogue on issues concerning human rights, civil society, and the need to respect international norms and rules.”