Senators say they hope to meet with Xi during China trip

231005 xi jinping mb 0930 f409f3

WASHINGTON — A bipartisan group of U.S. senators hope to meet with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a trip to China this month, two of them told NBC News, as a whirl of diplomatic activity builds expectations for a meeting later this year between the leaders of the world’s two largest economies.

“I don’t think that that’s clear yet whether it will happen,” Sen. Mike Crapo, R-Idaho, said of a potential meeting between the senators and Xi. “We want to meet with a number of the officials there as well as the American business community there as well, and we would like to meet with President Xi.”

Crapo and Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer, D-N.Y., will lead the delegation, which also includes Sen. Bill Cassidy, R-La., Sen. Maggie Hassan, D-N.H., Sen. John Kennedy, R-La., and Sen. Jon Ossoff, D-Ga. They will also visit U.S. allies South Korea and Japan during the 10-day trip.

Kennedy said it was his understanding that the group would meet with Xi, who has been in power for more than a decade and extended his rule with an unprecedented third term awarded in March at a congress of the ruling Chinese Communist Party.