Chinese diplomats must now notify the U.S. government whenever they hold official meetings with state and local officials as well as research and academic institutions.
The action announced by the State Department today is a reciprocal response to Chinese restrictions on U.S. diplomats in China, a senior State Department official said.
“As a matter of policy, we have never done anything to limit their access to stakeholders here in the United States,” the official said in a call with reporters.
China requires U.S. diplomats to seek permission to meet with officials in local and provincial governments, universities and research institutions. The official stressed that the new U.S. policy does not aim to restrict access to U.S. officials.
“We’re merely asking that they notify us in advance of such meetings,” the official said. “That’s different from what happens many times in China, where our diplomats are forced to seek permission and are often denied such permission.“
The announcement comes amid a broader Trump administration offensive against China in the form of new trade restrictions, sanctions and scrutiny towards Chinese investments.
The official said the policy has been in the works for some time and was not directly linked to other policies.
“There are many aspects where the administration is vigorously seeking to level the playing field. You see that in trade and any number of other areas,” the official said.