The top US diplomat said that the State Department, Mike Pompeo has established a mechanism requiring approval for senior Chinese diplomats in the US to visit University campuses and to meet with local government officials.
He added, “cultural events with groups larger than 50 people hosted by the Chinese embassy and consular posts outside our mission properties will also require our approval. Additionally, we are taking further steps to ensure that all official PRC embassy and consular social media accounts are properly identified as governments accounts.”
He also said, “We are simply demanding reciprocity. Access for our diplomats in China should be reflective of the access that Chinese diplomats in the US, have and today’s steps will move us substantially in that direction.”
The activities of consulate officials in Houston are a microcosm, we believe of a broader network of individuals in more than 25 cities that network is supported through the consulates here, a US Justice Department official said.
The US ordered Beijing to shutter its consulate in Houston in July after US officials alleged it was part of a larger Chinese espionage effort using diplomatic facilities around the country.
The Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC condemned the new restrictions, claiming they were a violation of the Vienna Conventions on Diplomatic Relations and Consular Relations.
A senior State Department official said, “In China, US diplomats do not have unfettered access to a range of folks that are important for us to do our job there. That includes local and provincial-level officials, academic institutions, research institutions and so on and so forth.”
Relations between the US and China have plummeted as Beijing and Washington have taken a series of retaliatory measures over the past several months.