Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman John Kerry (D-MA) released a statement following today's congressional meeting with Chinese President Hu Jintao:
"It was my pleasure to help welcome President Hu to the Senate today. At times, last year was a challenging one in U.S.-China relations. Despite the shared gains achieved working together on global problems, many in Congress today believe the United States and China are on a collision course. It's critical that leaders in both countries don't allow mutual suspicions to degenerate into fear-mongering and demagoguery. Make no mistake, getting this vital and complex relationship right doesn't mean papering over significant differences, including on human rights, Taiwan, and trade, but we should not allow our disagreements to define our relations. I discussed with President Hu how we can consolidate and build upon existing areas of cooperation with China to address global challenges.
"Close U.S.-China cooperation on the Korean Peninsula is essential to restrain North Korea and facilitate the resumption of a results-oriented, multilateral dialogue to bring lasting peace and rid the region of nuclear dangers. China exerts outsized influence on the North as its only ally, and a more proactive role by Beijing would be an important sign that China understands that with greater power comes greater responsibility.
"On economic issues, China has recently made significant commitments to protect intellectual property and modify discriminatory practices on government purchases, but its undervalued currency remains a concern. Congress is growing increasingly impatient, and absent sustained progress, will likely take matters into its own hands in the coming months."
Earlier this week, Chairman Kerry published an op-ed on President Hu's historic visit and U.S.-China relations. He delivered a speech on U.S.-China policy at the Center for American Progress last month, and he meets regularly with China's leaders. Kerry travelled to China in May of 2009 and has held two Foreign Relations Committee hearings on U.S.-China relations.