WASHINGTON, DC—Representative Eliot L. Engel, the Ranking Member of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, made the following statement regarding Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to the United States:


“I’m glad to welcome Chinese President Xi Jinping to the United States on his first official state visit.  The United States and China have an incredible opportunity—and indeed, a responsibility—to work together to forge a positive future.  Cooperation between the United States and China affects the citizens of both countries and sends ripples around the world.


“As the two largest economies and biggest emitters of greenhouse gases in the world, U.S.-China cooperation is essential to addressing global climate change.  I hope that this visit will produce tangible progress toward the implementation of emission reduction pledges and the continued development of renewable energy technologies and jobs that accompany them.


“At the same time, we know that this relationship faces significant challenges.  We need to grapple with issues such as China’s state-sponsored cyber-hacking of American businesses and civilians; China’s behavior in the South China Sea, which threatens U.S. partners and allies and challenges fundamental international norms; and impediments standing in the way of companies seeking to invest in Chinese markets.


“Perhaps the greatest difference between our countries is the way we view human rights.  For the United States, protecting and advancing human rights around the world is a moral imperative.  On the other hand, the Chinese government is responsible for the systematic oppression of ethnic, religious, and social minority groups; strict control over the self-governance of the people of Hong Kong, Tibet, and Xinjiang; and oppressing political dissent.  I hope that in the future, China’s leaders will grow to understand that reversing the repression of fundamental human rights—including freedom of expression and association—is in their country’s best interest.  Greater openness and opportunity go hand-in-hand with shared stability and prosperity.


“China’s rise will benefit the Chinese people and the world only as far as China’s government chooses to be transparent and accountable to its own people, to act with benevolence toward its neighbors, and to respect the international order that allows countries to flourish under the same set of rules.


“I look forward to meeting President Xi later today, and I hope his visit will allow our countries to make progress on these critical issues.”