A bipartisan group of US senators hopes to meet President Xi Jinping in China next week, as a flurry of diplomacy bolsters expectations of a leaders meeting between the two superpowers.
Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer and his Republican colleague Senator Mike Crapo will raise the issue of Micron Technology Corp.’s ability to do business in the country during their trip, according to people familiar with the preparations. The company faces an ongoing probe by the Chinese government’s cybersecurity administration.
The senators also plan to meet with the US business community in Shanghai, among other groups, and discuss concerns about the investment climate for US companies, the people said, asking not to be identified to discuss details of the visit that aren’t yet public.
“The purpose is for us to engage with them, just like you’ve seen some of the senior administration officials, on the broad array of issues that we have,” Crapo said in an interview, declining to comment on specific matters the senators will discuss. “We really believe that the more engagement we have, the more opportunity and potential there is to resolve conflict.”
He added that the group is seeking a meeting with Xi, but noted such an engagement hasn’t been confirmed. While Xi did meet with congress leaders in 2015 during a state visit to the US, typically senior American officials sit down with Chinese ministers on trips to Beijing rather than the president.
The senators’ trip follows several China visits by high-level officials in President Joe Biden’s administration seeking to smooth ties after months of escalating tensions. The US is hoping to open the door to a potential November meeting between Biden and Xi at the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation summit in San Francisco. Beijing hasn’t confirmed whether the Chinese leader will attend.
The White House is aware of the senators’ trip plans and encouraged them to go, people familiar with the matter said. A spokeswoman for the National Security Council didn’t respond to a request for comment.
Micron, headquartered in Boise, Idaho, is currently building a major chip-fabrication plant in upstate New York, making its business issues home-state concerns for both Crapo and Schumer, who represent those states. Micron has said the cyber probe has put half of its China sales at risk.
Schumer’s office has previously confirmed that he was planning a trip to China, South Korea and Japan but hasn’t released details. A Micron spokesperson declined to comment on the trip.
Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo raised issues on behalf of Micron and other American firms when she visited China in August. With assistance from Steven T. Dennis and Alan Wong/Bloomberg
Image credits: Al Drago / Bloomberg