June 15, 2021

***ICYMI*** SFRC Chairman Menendez Discusses Expectations for the Biden-Putin Summit, U.S. Policy toward China, Other Foreign Policy News of the Day

“I think president Biden is going in clear-eyed. He himself has called Putin a ruthless killer… and that's what he is.”

WASHINGTON – U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee Chairman Bob Menendez (D-N.J.) today went on MSNBC’s Morning Joe, Meet the Press Daily with Chuck Todd, and CNN Newsroom with Ana Cabrera to discuss President Joe Biden’s trip to meet with United States’ G7 and NATO allies, his expectations for the Biden-Putin Summit, U.S. policy toward China, and other foreign policy news of the day.

On his expectations and hopes for President Biden’s summit with Putin:  “We want a stable predictable relationship [with Russia], but we have to understand who we're speaking to. We're speaking to someone who uses chemical weapons to assassinate his opponents and someone who tears territories apart from his neighbors as he did in Crimea. We are speaking about someone who committed war crimes in Syria. I think President Biden clearly understands who he's confronting and wants to send him a very strong message.”

On how to be more assertive with Russia: “[President Biden] started off with some significant sanctions but there are more that could be levied. He actually has an opportunity to affect Putin's oligarchs … go after those people, stop their visas to the United States, get Europe to join in the same effort, freeze their accounts. You'll see how you get Putin's attention. And there are mandatory chemical weapons sanctions under the law that have not been levied yet that need to be levied as well. These are three very powerful actions.”

On the United States’ approach to China and the passage of the U.S. Innovation and Competition Act of 2021, which included Chairman Menendez’s own Strategic Competition Act of 2021: “I think the legislation that passed is a good blueprint of what that grand strategy is. And you're right, we'll have to deal with China. It is a rising power and has a huge economy. But our strategy has to be two things. We must confront China for its international violations in the South China Sea and what it is doing to Uyghurs, Tibet, Hong Kong, and its threat to Taiwan. But we must also compete with China. If I want to go around the world and say ‘don't use Huawei and its 5G technology because it will undermine your intelligence facilities,’ then I also have to offer you a 5G program. If I don’t do that, I can’t compete, I can’t tell you what to do or not to do.”

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