A number of Congressional Republicans criticized Secretary of State Antony Blinken’s recent diplomatic trip to China. The GOP members of Congress characterized the diplomat’s trip as an example of the Biden administration’s weakness regarding the People’s Republic.
Blinken had originally planned the visit in February, but it was delayed due to revelations that China had sent a spy balloon to transit American territory.
House Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Rep. Michael McCaul (R-TX) was one of the primary critics of Blinken’s two-day trip.
McCaul said that if “you’re going to sit down, then sit down from strength, not from weakness. You need to have leverage in these talks to achieve something.”
Blinken characterized his trip as an “important start” to the two nations’ relations.
However, Rep. Elise Stefanik (R-NY) said that the trip would “legitimize” Beijing’s “subversion of our sovereignty,” referencing reports that China built a spy base in Cuba.
Sen. Josh Hawley (R-OH) said that Blinken “apparently went to China to kick off the Chinese Century.”
No consequences for the spy balloon. No consequences for spy station in Cuba. No consequences for stealing our jobs. China calls the shots in the Biden Admin https://t.co/jm0zDBheZk
— Josh Hawley (@HawleyMO) June 19, 2023
During his trip, Blinken stated that the United States would continue its policy in which Washington would not call for Taiwan’s independence.
“We’ve made clear that we oppose any unilateral changes to the status quo by either side,” Blinken said.
The recent criticism follows a joint letter signed by 19 Republican senators calling for a tougher China policy from the White House.
In particular, the letter signed by leading Republicans, including Intelligence Committee Vice Chairman Sen. Marco Rubio (R-FL), argued that the Biden administration reacted poorly to the Chinese spy balloon that crossed the country earlier this year.
The letter said that the White House “has yet to provide the American people a full accounting of how this spy platform was allowed to traverse across sovereign U.S. territory, what the balloon carried and what it collected during its mission.”
“It is time that your administration fully exposes Beijing’s efforts to collect intelligence against the United States and the threats posed by such activities,” it read.
President Joe Biden also recently commented that he believed the Chinese government’s leadership was likely unaware of the spy balloon project.