Bipartisan Delegation and National Security Advisor Meet to Discuss China Policy

October 1, 2020 by Reece Nations
China's President Xi Jinping (top center) attends the second plenary session of the National Peoples Congress (NPC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on May 25, 2020. (Photo by NOEL CELIS/AFP via Getty Images/TNS)

WASHINGTON – A bipartisan delegation of Congressional leaders met Wednesday with National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger to discuss the United States’ foreign policy toward China in light of the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“We are grateful to Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger for holding a very constructive discussion with us on U.S. policy toward China and how it may be affected by the COVID-19 pandemic,” Reps. Stephanie Murphy, D-Fla., and John Katko, R-N.Y., said in a joint statement. “We regard the U.S.- China relationship as the most important bilateral relationship in the world, and we are troubled by the conduct of the Chinese Communist Party across a range of issue areas, from foreign and defense policy, to trade, to human rights, to its efforts to exploit the COVID pandemic to advance its interests at the expense of the U.S. and our allies.” 

Murphy and Katko’s statement continued, “We believe the United States will be in the strongest position to protect our national interests and to influence CCP behavior if we approach Beijing with a strong bipartisan front, rather than divided along partisan lines.” 

Reps. Anthony Brindisi, D-N.Y., Joe Cunningham, D-S.C., Mike Gallagher, R-Wis., Tom Graves, R-Ga., Kendra Horn, D-Okla., and Mike Rogers, R-Ala., also participated in the classified meeting, according to a press release. 

“Our national security and the global response to COVID-19 needs to go beyond politics and I appreciate the White House, Deputy National Security Advisor Matthew Pottinger, and Reps. Murphy and Katko for providing the opportunity for this constructive conversation,” Brindisi said in a statement. “Politics should stop at the water’s edge and with the Chinese Communist Party’s behavior throughout the COVID-19 crisis and beyond, we need a bipartisan and thoughtful response to ensure America and our allies can work together to emerge from this crisis safe, secure, and as global leaders.” 

Wednesday’s meeting with Pottinger is the third coronavirus-related national security briefing organized by Murphy and Katko, according to a press release. The other events were a pair of briefings by Richard Haass, president of the Council on Foreign Relations, and Former Director of the National Counterterrorism Center Michael Leiter.

The discussion focused on “security challenges,” particularly concerning cybersecurity, and how to safely navigate the challenges presented by U.S.-China relations, Graves said in a statement. Pottinger’s meeting with the delegation was described by Graves as “a clear-eyed and informative discussion.”  

“I am grateful to the White House for hosting today’s meeting on U.S. policy towards China in light of the COVID-19 pandemic,” Cunningham said in a statement. “I remain troubled by China’s willingness to flout international norms, violate the rights of their own people, and exploit this global health and economic crisis for their own benefit.”

Cunningham’s statement continued, “It is clear that Democrats and Republicans both agree that we must stand up to China’s authoritarian regime whenever their actions threaten global stability or our own national security.” 

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