Sen. Chuck Schumer used a rare meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing to lecture him about China’s response to the Hamas attack on southern Israel, saying he was “disappointed” with Beijing’s neutrality.
“I urge you and the Chinese people to stand with the Israeli people and condemn the cowardly and vicious attacks upon them,” Schumer told Xi on Monday, according to Bloomberg. “I say this with respect, but I was disappointed by the foreign minister’s statement showing no sympathy or his support for the Israeli people during these tragedies.”
Earlier in the day, Schumer met with China’s top diplomat, Wang Yi, and also criticized China’s response to the situation in Israel and Gaza. China’s Foreign Ministry released a statement on Sunday that urged de-escalation and peace talks.
“We call on relevant parties to remain calm, exercise restraint, and immediately end the hostilities to protect civilians and avoid further deterioration of the situation,” the Foreign Ministry said.
On Monday, after Schumer met with Xi, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning offered a stronger condemnation of the killing of civilians. “We’re deeply saddened by the civilian casualties and oppose and condemn acts that harm civilians,” she said.
Schumer took credit for the stronger statement, but it could be applied to both sides as Israel is killing civilians in its airstrikes and siege on Gaza. Mao stressed that China was a friend to both “Israel and Palestine” and urged de-escalation and talks, which Beijing has offered to facilitate.
Schumer’s lecture overshadowed the bipartisan delegation that he led to China, the first congressional trip of its kind since 2019. The trip came as US-China relations are at their lowest point in decades.