The United States said Wednesday that senior Chinese diplomats must now seek approval from the US State Department before visiting US university campuses or holding cultural events with more than 50 people outside the mission site.
Washington accused the move in response to Beijing’s restrictions on American diplomats based in China. It is part of a Trump administration campaign against suspected Chinese-influenced operations and espionage activities.
The State Department said it will also take steps to ensure that all Chinese embassy and consular social media accounts are “properly identified”.
“We’re just asking for reciprocity. Access for our diplomats in China should mirror access for Chinese diplomats in the United States, and today’s steps will move us significantly in that direction,” US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a briefing message.
It was the most recent move by the US to curb Chinese activities in the US in the run-up to the November presidential election, where President Donald Trump took a tough approach to making China a key foreign policy platform.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington called the move “another unjustified restriction and barrier for Chinese diplomatic and consular personnel” that “runs counter to the US side’s self-proclaimed values of openness and freedom.”
Pompeo also said that the State Department’s Under-Secretary of State for Economic Growth, Keith Krach, recently wrote to the boards of directors of US universities to alert them to the threats posed by the Chinese Communist Party.
“These threats can come in the form of illegal research funding, intellectual property theft, intimidation of foreign students and opaque talent recruiting efforts,” said Pompeo.
He said universities could ensure they have clean assets and endowment funds “by taking some key steps to disclose all (Chinese) companies invested in the endowment funds, especially emerging market index funds.”
On Tuesday, Pompeo said he was confident the Chinese Confucius Institute’s dozen cultural centers on US university campuses, which he accused of “spies and staff” recruitment, would be closed by the end of the year.
Speaking at the press conference, Pompeo said he plans to discuss China and other regional issues in virtual meetings with the Ten Nations Association of Southeast Asian Nations and other Indo-Pacific countries next week.
The State Department said Pompeo will attend a meeting of foreign ministers at the East Asia Summit on September 9, as well as another meeting with his ASEAN counterparts.
On September 11th, he will enter into a cooperation partnership with the partner countries of the Mekong, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in order to strengthen their autonomy, economic independence and sustainable development.
On this day, too, he will take part in a meeting of the foreign ministers of the ASEAN Regional Forum, a 27-member group that brings ASEAN together with dialogue partners from all over the world.
The US move to the US on Wednesday continues than last October. Chinese diplomats are required to give advance notice of meetings with state, local, and municipal officials, as well as educational and research institutions.
The State Department has also urged Chinese media companies to register as overseas missions and announced in March that it would reduce the number of journalists allowed to work in US offices of major Chinese media companies from 160 to 100.
(This story was not edited by GossipMantri staff and is automatically generated from a syndicated feed.)