HomeBusinessChina blasts U.S. over reports of withdrawing diplomatic staff

China blasts U.S. over reports of withdrawing diplomatic staff

BEIJINGChina on Wednesday expressed “serious concerns and dissatisfaction” with the United States over reports of an inner State Department request to permit the departure of diplomats and their households from China amid tightening anti-pandemic measures.

Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian mentioned China’s anti-virus rules had been according to worldwide treaties governing the therapy of diplomatic personnel and that the nation was “undoubtedly the safest country in the world at the moment.”

China has pursued a strict “zero tolerance” coverage towards outbreaks, together with lockdowns of tens of millions of folks, journey bans, obligatory masking, mass testing and well being surveillance by smartphone apps.

Classes, together with these at worldwide faculties, have been moved on-line and journey hyperlinks between Beijing and far of the remaining of the nation are suspended. The newest necessities name for testing of anybody buying cough, fever or chilly medicines.

The measures are credited with stopping main outbreaks, though they’ve taken a big toll on native economies and high quality of life.

“To leave such a safe place would only significantly increase the risk of infection for U.S. staff,” Zhao instructed reporters at a each day briefing. “We find the U.S. decision perplexing and unjustifiable.”

It wasn’t clear if any embassy staff or their households had departed China in current days, whereas Beijing enforced lockdowns on elements of the town forward of the Feb. 4 opening of the Winter Olympics within the metropolis and its outskirts.

In an emailed assertion, an unidentified State Department spokesperson mentioned the “operating status at our mission in the PRC has not changed,” utilizing the initials for the People’s Republic of China.

“Any change in operating status of this nature would be predicated solely on the health, safety, and security of our colleagues and their family members,” the assertion mentioned.

A drawdown of embassy personnel is one thing the U.S. would possible need to keep away from forward of or through the Winter Olympics. Staffing on the mission is being augmented to assist American athletes, coaches and officers who’re collaborating within the Games.

However, COVID-19-related drawdowns have been widespread at U.S. embassies over the previous two years because the pandemic has unfold, and the State Department takes pains to emphasize that the well being, safety and well-being of its personnel and their households primarily based abroad is of paramount concern.

The ruling Communist Party newspaper Global Times portrayed the reported request to withdraw staff and dependents as a deliberate snub forward of the Olympics.

“Exclusive: Dirty trick again! U.S. plots to authorize departure of staff from embassies in China over epidemic ahead of Beijing Olympics,” ran the paper’s headline on its on-line version.

Human rights teams have known as for a boycott of the Games over China‘s treatment of Uyghur Muslims and other minorities and the U.S. and key allies have announced they won’t be sending dignitaries to attend in protest.

China has dismissed the diplomatic boycott, and Zhao mentioned China considered the departure request as being politically motivated.

China has expressed serious concerns and dissatisfaction to the U.S. side in this regard, and we hope the U.S. will abide by and cooperate with our COVID rules, take China’s position and concerns seriously, and prudently consider the so-called authorized departure issue of its diplomatic and consular staff,” Zhao mentioned.

Athletes and others collaborating within the Games are being utterly remoted from most of the people to attempt to keep away from cross-infection. Thirteen individuals who have come for the Games examined optimistic on Tuesday, bringing the whole to 106 among the many 3,695 who’ve arrived. Two of the optimistic instances are both athletes or group officers.

Those who check optimistic are taken to a hospital if they’ve signs and to a quarantine resort if they don’t.

Beijing officers mentioned Wednesday that eight folks had examined optimistic within the 24-hour interval ending at 4 p.m., bringing the whole within the metropolis’s delta variant outbreak to 69. Of these, 54 have signs and 15 don’t.

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AP Diplomatic Writer Matthew Lee in Washington, D.C. contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2022 The Washington Times, LLC.

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