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China Restricts U.S. Diplomats’ Movements in Latest Tit-for-Tat

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HONG KONG—Beijing said it has imposed restrictions on American diplomats in China to retaliate against Washington’s recent move to curb activities of Chinese diplomats in the U.S.

On Friday, China’s Foreign Ministry said it recently sent a diplomatic note announcing “reciprocal restrictions” on the U.S. Embassy in Beijing and American consulates across the country, including the one in Hong Kong. The measures apply to senior diplomats and all other personnel at these U.S. missions, the ministry said, without giving details on the curbs imposed.

The U.S. State Department said last week it would require senior Chinese diplomats in the U.S. to get approval for visits to American university campuses and meetings with local government officials, while Chinese diplomatic missions must also get permission to host cultural events outside of their facilities with audiences larger than 50 people.

China’s Foreign Ministry described those restrictions as the latest in a series of curbs that the U.S. started imposing last October, and condemned them as severe violations of international law. It said its own measures were a “legitimate and necessary response to the erroneous U.S. moves,” and called on Washington to “lift the unreasonable restrictions.”

Friday’s announcement marked the latest diplomatic tit-for-tat exchange in a fast-fraying U.S.-China relationship. In recent months, Washington has announced a number of measures that American officials said were aimed at preventing China from exploiting diplomatic privileges, prompting Beijing to respond each time with what it called equivalent countermeasures.

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