Washington gives Chinese diplomats a taste of their own medicine

The Washington Post
Date: Oct. 17, 2019
By:Josh Rogin 

For years, the Chinese government has become accustomed to doing things in our country that it

Chinese Vice Premier Liu He listens during a meeting with President Trump in the Oval Office on Oct. 11. (Andrew Harnik/AP)
doesn’t let us do in its. But those days may now be coming to an end. The Trump administration is focusing on the concept of “reciprocity” to pressure China to compete fairly or suffer consequences. The implications for the U.S.-China relationship are huge.

On Wednesday, the State Department announced that Chinese diplomats inside the United States are now required to notify the U.S. government before visiting state or local officials as well as academic or research institutions. David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs, said Thursday that the goal was not to constrain such interactions but to respond to Beijing’s severe and unfair restrictions on U.S. diplomats inside China.

“We’re not going to say no; we just want to have an idea who they are talking to,” he said. “Our goal is also a relationship with China that is fair and reciprocal with China living up to its many commitments.”

And as a side benefit, the U.S. government will now have far more information about how Chinese government officials are working to spread Chinese influence here. Stilwell said the United States must realize that Beijing has a long-term, deliberate strategy to take advantage of our open systems and manipulate them to advance the Chinese Communist Party’s (CCP) strategy and ideology.