Republican legislators reportedly oppose the Biden administration’s request for a temporary extension of a historic science and technology deal with China because they claim Beijing has utilized the agreement to further its security and military goals.
The agreement’s extension would keep it in effect for an additional six months and give the United States time “to undertake negotiations to amend and strengthen the terms,” a State Department official said on Wednesday.
The agreement establishes the guidelines for government-level cooperation on scientific research.
China’s Foreign Ministry stated that it was ready to have frank discussions on the matter with the United States and expressed the hope that both nations would “work together to promote an early renewal” of the deal.
The 1979 normalization of relations between the two countries led to the signing of this agreement, which marked the beginning of a new era of scientific collaboration and led to advancements in fields like clean energy and public health.
However, as competition between the two countries has grown, the agreement has come under increased scrutiny.
Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-Wis.), chairman of the select committee on China in the U.S. House of Representatives, and nine other Republican members of Congress wrote to Secretary of State Antony Blinken in June pleading with him not to extend the deal before its deadline of August 27.
The letter made the case that by granting China access to cutting-edge American research, the deal was assisting China’s military modernisation.
A bill that would compel the secretary of state to notify Congress 30 days in advance of any new agreement to collaborate with China on science and technology was put out this week by three Republican members of the House select committee on China.