BEIJING (Reuters) – China and the United States will ease restrictions on access for journalists from each other’s countries, the official China Daily reported late on Tuesday, citing unnamed Chinese foreign ministry sources.
A consensus on journalist visas, among other points, was reached before the virtual summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. counterpart Joe Biden earlier on Tuesday, the newspaper said.
Tensions between the world’s top two economies, on issues ranging from tech and trade to human rights and the coronavirus, spilled over into the media sector last year.
Beijing accused Washington of a “political crackdown” on Chinese journalists after it slashed the number of Chinese nationals allowed to work at the U.S. offices of major Chinese state-owned media and limited their authorised stay to 90 days, with an option to extend.
In the tit-for-tat row, China then expelled U.S. journalists at several U.S. newspapers and introduced new visa restrictions on some U.S. media companies.
Under the consensus reached, the United States will issue one-year multiple-entry visas to Chinese journalists, China Daily said, adding that the Chinese side has committed to granting equal treatment to U.S. journalists once the U.S. policies come into force.
Both countries will issue visas to journalists based on applicable laws and regulations, it said, adding that journalists will be able to freely depart and return under strict compliance with COVID-19 protocols.
China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
In their more than three-hour video call, Biden pressed Xi on human rights, while the Chinese president warned that Beijing would respond to provocations on Taiwan, according to official accounts of the exchange.
(Reporting by Beijing Newsroom; Writing by Tom Daly; Editing by Peter Graff and Giles Elgood)