Two senators from opposite sides of the aisle have joined together to lead an effort urging President Obama to not go easy on China when Vice President Xi Jiping visits the White House today.
Sens. John Cornyn (R-Texas) and Robert Menendez (D-N.J.) sent the letter, which included the signatures of 10 more Republican senators, to Obama on Friday. It urges the commander in chief to press the People’s Republic on a number of key issues, including Beijing’s “aggressive military modernization and the lack of transparency regarding the strategic purposes behind it.”
The letter also asks that, in demonstrating “strong U.S. support for the vital security interests of our key strategic partner Taiwan,” Obama announce the next defensive arms package sale to Taiwan before Xi’s visit.
The White House did update Obama’s schedule this morning with an event before Xi’s arrival, but it’s to push Congress to act to extend the payroll tax cut and unemployment insurance.
Menendez and Cornyn also press Obama to tell China to renounce the use of force against Taiwan.
“Third, we are displeased with China’s continued undermining of U.S. and international sanctions against Iran,” the senators wrote. “…Fourth, we ask you to press Vice President Xi to put end to the increasing volley of cyberattacks and cyber-theft emanating from China.”
The letter states that nearly a million jobs could be created in the United States, too, if China respected and enforced intellectual property rights to the same extent as America.
The senators also strongly urged Obama to convey “strong opposition” to Beijing about its continued human-rights abuses. “We call on you to meet publicly with Chinese dissidents in the United States while Vice President Xi is here,” they wrote.
Obama’s plans for the rest of the week include promoting his budget and going on the road to raise funds for his campaign.