U.S.-China Working Group Commemorates 10-Year Anniversary
WASHINGTON, D.C.—Today, House U.S.-China Working Group co-founders Senator Mark Kirk (IL) and Representative Rick Larsen (WA), along with current co-chair Representative Charles Boustany (LA), commemorated 10 years of the Working Group’s successes educating Members of Congress and their staffs about the importance of U.S.-China relations. The U.S.-China Working Group continues to provide a forum for open and frank discussion among U.S. and Chinese leaders.
Kirk, Larsen and Boustany spoke with policy experts and business leaders at an event today on Capitol Hill to celebrate 10 years of the Working Group’s bipartisan engagement with the Chinese government, private industry and Congressional Members.
“The friendship between the United States and China is the most important bilateral relationship of the 21st century,” Senator Kirk said. “Chinese tourism to the U.S. is expected to increase by 219 percent over the next four years. Our nations grow more interdependent every day, and I thank my colleagues for their work to keep Congress informed of the continued importance of our relationship with China."
“As the two largest economies in the world, the U.S. and China cannot afford not to engage. Ten years ago, it was clear to me that Congress needed to play a bigger role in U.S.-China relations. Since then, the Working Group has helped members and their staffs gain a deeper understanding of the many facets of our country’s relationship with China, from trade to energy to military relations,” Representative Larsen said. “Those of us from the West Coast understand Asia is not the Far East, but the Near West. As Asian economies grow, we have an opportunity to be a part of that growth in a bigger way than ever before. I am pleased to continue working with Senator Kirk and Representative Boustany to keep Congress engaged in a continuous dialog with China.”
“The U.S.-China Working Group has been a bright spot of bipartisanship in Congress over the last ten years, bringing Members together to build informed consensus on U.S.-China policy in the 21st century. As relations between our two nations continue to develop and intertwine, the U.S.-China Working Group’s mission is more important than ever,” Representative Boustany said.
Kirk and Larsen founded the U.S.-China Working Group in 2005 as a way to increase Congressional engagement in relations with Asia, particularly China.
The Working Group has led several trips to China for Members and staff that have focused on a variety of issues, including energy, the environment, aerospace, military-to-military relations, manufacturing and more. The Working Group was the first foreign delegation to visit the manned-space launch center in Jiuquan, as well as the first civilian delegation to visit a People’s Liberation Army-Navy Song Class submarine.
The Working Group also meets with Chinese officials who visit the United States, including most recently Ji Bingxuan, Vice Chairman of the National People's Congress, as well as briefing staff about key issues in the U.S.-China relationship.