"By removing trade status, we send a strong message that America will not be bullied, nor will we allow our soldiers, sailors and airmen to be held under these circumstances," said Rep. Mike Rogers, R-Mich. Rogers is working with Rep. Duncan Hunter, R-Calif., to introduce a bill suspending China's Permanent Normal Trade Relations (PNTR) status until the Americans are allowed to return home.
"The message is simple: Send this crew and their plane home, or forgo the trade status you need to improve your economy, period. No negotiating, no playing games," Rogers said.
He said that under international agreements, China had no right to hold the Americans "prisoner" and no right to enter the plane.
Speaking on Capitol Hill, Rep. Hunter said, "This situation is indicative of the regard in which the Communist regime in China holds our government. A favored trading partner with our country would follow proper protocol and not continue to hold our servicemen and women, along with our equipment, after being asked for their return."
"The fact is," Hunter said, "while we trade with China, they prepare for war. The Communist regime is producing long-range ballistic missiles, which are targeted at U.S. military bases and American cities.
"They have engaged in espionage activities in which U.S. military secrets were stolen, and they have developed weapon systems that threaten the U.S. and its allies," Hunter said.
Congress approved PTNR for China last year. This means that Congress does not have to conduct an annual review of China's activities regarding unfair trade practices, human rights and national security.
Supporters of PNTR wanted the congressional review removed to make China a "strategic partner" in global trade.
© 2021 Newsmax. All rights reserved.