US adds new visa restrictions on China over Tibet

US adds new visa restrictions on China over Tibet
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Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoBeirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally Advocacy groups come out against Trump pick for ambassador to Germany US pledges million in disaster aid to Lebanon MORE on Tuesday announced new visa bans targeting Chinese officials involved in restricting foreign access to Tibet, marking another point of conflict amid tense relations between Washington and Beijing. 

The secretary said the Chinese government has “systematically” obstructed access for U.S. diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists to access areas of Tibet under Chinese governance and was imposing the visa restrictions as a reciprocal measure. 

“The United States seeks fair, transparent, and reciprocal treatment from the People’s Republic of China for our citizens,” Pompeo said in a statement. 

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“Unfortunately, Beijing has continued systematically to obstruct travel to the Tibetan Autonomous Region (TAR) and other Tibetan areas by U.S. diplomats and other officials, journalists, and tourists, while PRC officials and other citizens enjoy far greater access to the United States,” he added.

The visa restrictions are authorized under the Reciprocal Access to Tibet Act, signed into law by President TrumpDonald John TrumpDeWine tests negative for coronavirus a second time Several GOP lawmakers express concern over Trump executive orders Beirut aftermath poses test for US aid to frustrating ally MORE in December 2018. It calls for denying access to the U.S. for Chinese officials known to be involved in restricting entrance to Tibet. 

Relations between Washington and Beijing have spiraled downward since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, which Trump has blamed on China. 

Beijing’s moves to exercise more authority on Hong Kong, restrictions on U.S. journalists by China and retaliatory actions by the U.S., and outrage from the U.S. and other countries over China’s treatment of its Uighur Muslim population have also contributed to the worsening relations.