Chinese diplomats in US will have report all planned meets

Washington, Oct 17 : Amid its ongoing trade war with China, the US has now stipulated that Chinese diplomats in the country will have to inform the State Department before meeting any US officials – at any level, or visiting any “educational and research institutions”, reports said on Thursday.

Protesting the move, the Chinese Embassy here said the US action was a “violation of the Vienna Convention” on diplomatic relations but the US argued that its diplomats in China faced similar restrictions, the BBC reported.

The rules would apply to “official meetings with (US) state officials, official meetings with local and municipal officials, official visits to educational institutions, and official visits to research institutions”, the State Department said.

US officials clarified that Chinese diplomats did not need permission for the meetings, but were required to notify the State Department in advance.

According to a senior State Department official, the US was merely “levelling the playing field” with China, and that it was a response to Chinese restrictions on American diplomats.

“In China, US diplomats do not have unfettered access to a range of folks that are important for us to do our job here.

“In contrast, (Chinese) diplomats in the US are of course, able to take full advantage of our open society,” the official told the BBC.

The eventual goal is a mutual disbanding of these requirements, the official said.

The Chinese mission however contended that it “does not have similar requirements on American diplomats and consular officers in China”.

/IANS

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