Beijing: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said on Friday that Beijing will impose “equivalent restrictions” on all American diplomats in China to restrict its embassy personnel in the United States.
In the past two months, relations between the world’s top two economies have deteriorated, and both sides have been fiercely criticized for trade disputes, human rights and the origin of the coronavirus pandemic.
China’s latest move comes a few days after Washington announced new restrictions on staff in Beijing’s missions abroad, such as requests for university visits or meetings with local officials.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement: “The Chinese side recently issued a diplomatic note announcing mutual restrictions on the U.S. embassy and consulate.”
It added that unspecified countermeasures will apply to all U.S. embassy and consulate staff, including the Hong Kong consulate and its personnel.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said: “It must be emphasized that these measures are China’s reasonable and necessary response to the wrong actions of the United States.” He urged the United States to “immediately correct its mistakes” and cancel previous restrictions.
In July, Washington ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, sparking a tit-for-tat dispute against foreign missions, prompting Beijing to shut down the US presence in Chengdu.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said last week that the new measures against Chinese envoys are a response to the long-standing US controls on Chinese diplomats.
Washington’s restrictions will force Chinese diplomats to seek permission from the United States to hold cultural events involving more than 50 people outside the mission field.
They also requested that the embassy’s social media accounts be publicly identified as being associated with the Chinese government.
The foreign embassy battle is only one front in the escalating confrontation between the United States and China.
Washington has imposed sanctions on alleged assistance in arranging large-scale Chinese Uighurs and other Xinjiang Muslim minorities. This plan has aroused strong global human rights protests.
Last month, after enacting a national security law aimed at quelling civil unrest in the financial center, the country blacklisted officials accused of suppressing Hong Kong’s “freedom and democratic process.”
This move prompted China to impose sanctions on several prominent Americans, including prominent senators and senior figures from American human rights organizations.
President Donald Trump also condemned Beijing for causing the coronavirus to spread globally, which provoked an angry response from Chinese officials, saying that the authorities there had failed to contain the pandemic in the early stages.
Washington also accused Chinese technology companies and platforms ranging from Huawei to TikTok for serving the interests of the Chinese Communist Party.
After the US technology giant Microsoft stated that it had thwarted cyberattacks on Republicans and Democrats by overseas organizations including China, Beijing on Friday denied its attempts to intervene in the upcoming US presidential election.