United States further restricts Chinese diplomats travel, meetings

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Trump administration on Wednesday stepped up its battle with China by further restricting the ability of Chinese diplomats to travel, hold meetings with academics and host cultural events in the United States.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that senior U.S.-based Chinese diplomats will now be required to get permission to visit American universities or meet with local government officials. Previously, under rules announced last fall, Chinese officials had been required only to notify the State Department of plans for such meetings.

Pompeo also said that Chinese diplomats will have now to get permission to host cultural events of more than 50 people outside of their diplomatic missions. In addition, he said the State Department would act to ensure that the social media accounts of Chinese officials be identified as belonging to the People’s Republic of China and the Chinese Communist Party.

“The United States insists on reciprocal access to educational and cultural institutions for U.S. diplomats around the world,” Pompeo said. “These new requirements on PRC diplomats are a direct response to the excessive restraints already placed on our diplomats by the PRC, and they aim to provide further transparency on the practices of the PRC government. Should the PRC eliminate the restrictions imposed on U.S. diplomats, we stand ready to reciprocate.”

The moves come as the administration ramps up actions against Chinese officials in a widening effort to counter what it says is unfair treatment of American diplomats in China. And they come as relations between the two countries continue to plummet amid a numerous disputes over trade, Taiwan, Tibet, human rights, Hong Kong and the coronavirus pandemic.

Trump has blamed China for failing to adequately respond to the COVID-19 outbreak, which began in the Chinese city of Wuhan. The United States has had the most deaths in the world and Trump’s Democratic rival, Joe Biden, has blamed Trump for the rapid spread of the virus in the United States, which surged after Trump pushed for a lifting of restrictions. Trump, meanwhile, has accused Biden, of being soft on China.

23 PHOTOSSecretary of State Mike PompeoSee GallerySecretary of State Mike PompeoSecretary of State Mike Pompeo speaks during a news conference at the State Department in Washington, Wednesday, Sept. 2, 2020. (Nicholas Kamm/Pool via AP)U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, and Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu make joint statements to the press after meeting, in Jerusalem, Monday, Aug. 24, 2020. (Debbie Hill/Pool via AP)Secretary of State Mike Pompeo testifies before a Senate Foreign Relations committee hearing on the State Department’s 2021 budget on Capitol Hill Thursday, July 30, 2020, in Washington. (Jim Lo Scalzo/Pool via AP)Vice President Mike Pence, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, and U.S. Ambassador to Poland Georgette Mosbacher listen as President Donald Trump meets with Polish President Andrzej Duda in the Oval Office of the White House, Wednesday, June 24, 2020, in Washington. (AP Photo/Evan Vucci)US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, left, meets with Poland’s Foreign Minister Jacek Czaputowicz in Lazienki Palace in Warsaw, Poland, Saturday Aug. 15, 2020. Pompeo is on a five day visit to central Europe. (Janek Skarzynski/Pool via AP)Politische Schwergewichte: Bundeskanzlerin Angela Merkel begrüßt US-Außenminister Mike Pompeo (M.) und UN-Generalsekretär Antonio Guterres bei der Libyen-Konferenz.U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo shakes hands with Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan during the Libya summit in Berlin, Germany, January 19, 2020.REUTERS/Hannibal Hanschke

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a meeting with CIA Director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., in his Capitol office on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Mike Pompeo (L) is sworn in as CIA Director by Vice President Mike Pence (R) as wife Susan Pompeo (2nd L) looks on at Eisenhower Executive Office Building January 23, 2017 in Washington, DC. Pompeo was confirmed for the position by the Senate this evening.

(Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)


UNITED STATES – JUNE 28: Rep. Trey Gowdy, R-S.C., right, chairman of the Select Committee on Benghazi, conducts a news conference in the Capitol Visitor Center, June 28, 2016, to announce the Committee’s report on the 2012 attacks in Libya that killed four Americans. Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., also appears. (Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Representative Mike Pompeo, a Republican from Kansas and Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) director nominee for President-elect Donald Trump, swears in to a Senate Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in Washington, D.C., U.S., on Thursday, Jan. 12, 2017. Pompeo is seeking to reassure senators that he can shift from an outspoken policymaker to an objective spy chief if confirmed.

(Andrew Harrer/Bloomberg via Getty Images)

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell, R-Ky., holds a meeting with CIA Director nominee Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., in his Capitol office on Monday, Dec. 5, 2016.

(Photo By Bill Clark/CQ Roll Call)

Representative Mike Pompeo (R-KS) arrives to testify before a Senate Intelligence hearing on his nomination of to be become director of the CIA at Capitol Hill in Washington, U.S., January 12, 2017.

(REUTERS/Carlos Barria)

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (R) finishes swearing in Mike Pompeo, flanked by his wife Susan Pompeo, to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the vice president’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Mike Pompeo gets a hug from supporter Jennifer O’Connor after arriving at the Sedgwick County Republican headquarters at Market Centre in Wichita, Kansas, on Tuesday, November 6, 2012.

(Fernando Salazar/Wichita Eagle/MCT via Getty Images)

Adam Schiff (D-CA) left, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) center, and moderator Chuck Todd, right, appear on ‘Meet the Press’ in Washington, D.C., Sunday, Oct. 18, 2015.

(William B. Plowman/NBC/NBC NewsWire via Getty Images)

U.S. President-elect Donald Trump’s nominee for the director of the CIA, Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) attends his confirmation hearing before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. Mr. Pompeo is a former Army officer who graduated first in his class from West Point.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rep. Mike Pompeo (R-KS) listens as Sen. Pat Roberts (R-KS) speaks during his confirmation hearing to be the director of the CIA before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on January 12, 2017 in Washington, DC. Mr. Pompeo is a former Army officer who graduated first in his class from West Point.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., speaks during the news conference before a group of House Republican freshmen walked to the Senate to deliver a letter to Majority Leader Harry Reid on Wednesday, March 30, 2011. The letter called on the Senate to pass a long term continuing resolution with spending cuts.

(Photo By Bill Clark/Roll Call)

US Congressman Mike Pompeo (C), R-Kansas, sits in the dark after a power failure with US Senator Pat Roberts (L), a former Chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, and former US Senator Bob Dole (R), R-Kansas, as he prepares to testify before the Senate (Select) Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington, DC, January 12, 2017, on his nomination to be director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in the Trump administration.

(JIM WATSON/AFP/Getty Images)

Rep. Mike Pompeo, R-Kan., center, nominee for director of the Central Intelligence Agency, is introduced by former Sen. Bob Dole, R-Kan., right, and Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kan., during Pompeo’s Senate Select Intelligence Committee confirmation hearing in Dirksen Building, January 12, 2017. The hearing was moved from Hart Building due to a peer outage.

(Photo By Tom Williams/CQ Roll Call)

Incoming Trump administration cabinet secretary nominees including Secretary of State nominee Rex Tillerson (L-R), Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) Director nominee Mike Pompeo and Defense Secretary nominee James Mattis arrive for meetings at the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 13, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

Mike Pompeo (2nd L), flanked by his wife Susan Pompeo (2nd R) and their son Nick Pompeo (R), signs his affidavit of appointment after being sworn in as director of the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) by U.S. Vice President Mike Pence (L) in Pence’s ceremonial office in the Eisenhower Executive Office Building at the White House in Washington, U.S. January 23, 2017.

(REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst)

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Despite Trump’s previous affinity for Chinese President Xi Jinping, his administration has since last year consistently ratcheted up restrictions and sanctions on Chinese officials, government agencies and companies, beginning with travel limits imposed on diplomats and registration requirements for Chinese media outlets. The number of visas for Chinese journalists was also cut.

In June, the U.S. ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, which drew a reciprocal response from Beijing that forced the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu. Last month, the administration demanded that Chinese-funded language and culture programs in the U.S. register as foreign missions of the Chinese Communist Party.

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