Chinese diplomats in the United States must now give advance notice of any meetings with state, local and municipal officials, as well as at educational and research institutions, senior State Department officials said on Wednesday, Reuters reports.
The officials were quoted as saying that the move was an effort to “add reciprocity” to the way US diplomats are treated in China.
It has been in the works for some time, the officials said, and not directly linked to any other part of the US-China relationship, which has been strained by a trade war under President Donald Trump.
“This action is a response to what the PRC (Peoples Republic of China) government does to limit the interaction our diplomats can have in China with Chinese stakeholders,” a State Department official said.
American diplomats in China must not only notify the government there of meetings they plan to hold with Chinese people and officials, they must get permission first, the official noted.
“What we’re trying to accomplish here is … get closer to a reciprocal situation, hopefully with the desired end effect of having the Chinese government provide greater access to our diplomats in China,” the official said.
In a post on Twitter, China’s embassy in Washington said the “latest restrictions” on Chinese diplomats were in violation of the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations.
“So far, the Chinese side does not have similar requirements on American diplomats and consular officers in China,” it added.
The State Department officials said the onus would be on Chinese diplomats and officials to notify the department of their planned meetings in the United States.
The new requirement went into effect on Wednesday.
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