China & US virtual summit: Both agree to reduce restrictions on journos

Biden and Xi
US President Joe Biden meets virtually with Chinese President Xi Jinping

China and the United States have agreed to ease restrictions on each other’s journalists. The decision has come amid a slight relaxation of tensions between the two countries, Chinese media reported.

The official China Daily newspaper said that the agreement had been reached in the run-up to a virtual summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and US president Joe Biden.

Under the agreement, Washington will issue one-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese journalists and immediately initiate a process to address “duration of status” issues, the China Daily said.

According to the report, Beijing will reciprocate by granting equal treatment to US journalists once the US policies take effect.

Foreign Ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian gave no timeline for implementation but called the agreement a “hard-won achievement that is in the interest of both sides and should be cherished.”

In a statement t, the State Department said that China had promised to issue visas for a group of US reporters “provided they are eligible under all applicable laws and regulations.”

Beijing also pledged to increase the length for which US journalist visas are valid from the current 90 days to one year.

Restrictions on journalists have added to tensions between the two countries for more than a year after the US cancelled 20 visas issued to Chinese state media journalists. It also required those remaining to register as foreign agents, among other changes.

The new agreement “was the result of more than a year of difficult negotiations,” the China Daily explained.