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Index – Abroad – A small but important step between Beijing and Washington

Index - Abroad - A small but important step between Beijing and Washington

Beijing and Washington have agreed to mutually ease restrictions on each other’s journalists ahead of a virtual summit of the two countries’ presidents, the China Daily reported on Wednesday.

The newspaper, citing unnamed sources related to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, wrote that

Ahead of video talks between Chinese President Xi Qing and US President Joe Biden on Tuesday, the two sides agreed on three agreements.

One was that the two countries would mutually allow journalists in and out freely in accordance with the travel rules in place due to the coronavirus pandemic.

According to China Daily sources, the US side will issue a one-year multiple-entry visa to Chinese journalists, and in return, the Chinese will do the same for US journalists after the US measure takes effect. The agreement came as the result of more than a year of “difficult negotiations” over the treatment of the other’s press, the article said.

The agreement, according to sources with the Chinese Foreign Ministry, reflects the new direction in which it is used

China and the United States treat each other as equals.

It was also assessed that the consensus indicates that if the two countries consult in a calm and peaceful manner, in the spirit of mutual respect and equality, they will be able to reach a mutually just agreement.

Amid rising tensions between the two countries, Washington in May last year ordered that Chinese journalists be allowed to obtain US visas for up to 90 days, plus they must register as foreign clients. In addition, a single-entry visa was issued to Chinese journalists. The US has also restricted, among other measures, the number of visas that can be issued to employees of Chinese press offices.

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In March last year, Beijing revoked the press licenses of some New York Times, Wall Street Journal and Washington Post journalists operating in China, effectively expelling them from the country. The Chinese side also reduced the duration of visas granted to American journalists to 90 days.

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