Secretary of State Mike Pompeo Wednesday morning announced severe new restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the United States.
He cited that American diplomats in China “face constant barriers to their work” and so Washington is responding in a commensurate way.
“Today, the State Department imposed new requirements on senior PRC diplomats conducting meetings and events in the U.S. We will always advocate for fair treatment of our diplomats abroad,” Pompeo introduced.
This includes requiring senior Chinese diplomats working in the US to seek formal approval from the State Department in order to visit any American university campus or meet with local or state government officials.
In a press briefing the top US diplomat cited China’s own “opaque approval process” for American diplomatic personnel working in China, which ultimately prevents them from “conducing regular business, attending events, securing meetings, and connecting with the Chinese people.”
He specifically called out restrictions facing US staff when it comes to accessing Chinese university campuses, and even engaging the local population via media or social media.
— Department of State (@StateDept) September 2, 2020
Even cultural events hosted by the Chinese embassy which are “off campus” – or outside Chinese missions – which include over 50 people will also require formal US approval.
Pompeo’s remarks emphasized that Washington is in essence imposing on China the exact same set of restrictive hurdles routinely facing Americans in Beijing.
Last year the State Department said the Chinese embassy must merely “notify” US officials in advance, but this takes things to a new level, with the US giving itself complete power of oversight on whether a meeting or event can even proceed.
This also comes after days ago Pompeo said he hopes the state-sponsored Confucius Institue will be gone from US soil by year’s end.
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