Published On: Wed, Oct 23rd, 2019

China furious at US as Beijing launches attack on Trump for ‘weaponising’ visas | World | News

China’s Foreign Ministry made the astonishing claim after accusing Washington of failing to approve visas in time for Chinese space officials attending an international event. Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Chinese officials had wanted to take part in the ongoing International Astronautical Congress which was to be held in Washington. Ms Chunying said China applied for the visas back in July, but by mid-October they had not been authorised.

China was therefore unable to attend the start of the event.

Ms Chunying said: “This caused the Chinese delegation to be unable to attend the opening of the International Astronautical Congress.”

The US embassy said in a statement: “Visa records are confidential under US law. We are unable to discuss individual cases.”

Ms Chunying also said the US is denying visas for Russians and Iranians to participate in Washington.


China’s Foreign Ministry made the astonishing claim against the US (Image: GETTY)


Both countries have increased the number of joint military exercises (Image: GETTY)

She said this goes against United Nations rules.

The embassy added: “The United States is weaponising the visa issue, repeatedly disregarding its international responsibilities and obstructing normal international exchanges and cooperation.”

The remarks from Beijing come after tensions escalated on Monday when China surrounded a US ship travelling through the South China Sea, with the Asian super-power furiously accusing Washington of “flexing its muscles” in the disputed region.

The waters have become a hotbed of activity after Beijing’s institution of the nine-dash line which sees its territorial claims invade areas controlled by neighbouring countries such as Taiwan, the Philippines and Vietnam.

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China was therefore unable to attend the start of the event (Image: GETTY)

Both the US and UK have upped their presence in the region increasing the dispute between Washington and Beijing.

China accused the US of showing its strength in the region after the USS Ronald Reagan carried out drills in the disputed waters.

Soon after entering the region, the ship was surrounded by Chinese vessels according to to satellite images.

Moreover, such was the apparent provocation that Beijing lodged a complaint with Washington.


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Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Chinese officials had wanted to take part (Image: GETTY)

Speaking on the matter, rear admiral Karl Thomas told The Daily Telegraph: “There is certainly a disagreement in where they think we should sail.”

China has already clashed with Malaysia, Vietnam and the Philippines over its encroachment into rich fishing grounds and reserves of untapped oil and gas reserves.

Beijing has also been accused of weaponising certain areas with the creation of artificial islands, illustrated by the Fiery Cross Reef.

Off the coast of the Philippines, the area is one of the most heavily fortified by China and now has underground ammunition storage, missile shelters and radar domes.


Both the US and UK have both increased their presence in the region (Image: GETTY)

The Philippines and China both disputed the Scarborough Shoal territory which resulted in a tribunal ruling that the People’s Republic had no historical claim to the land in 2016.

The move to militarise some of the islands in the area was considered a blatant aggression but China has maintained that the move was “purely defensive”.

But China military specialist and Georgetown University professor, Oriana Skylar Mastro, stated the move allows Beijing to continue to develop its military operations.

She added: “The problem is that the South China Sea is not theirs to defend.

“It gives them the ability to do persistent operations and have coercive capabilities against their neighbours and their claims of water and airspace.

“They’re basically putting in military capabilities to be able to control activities in the South China Sea.”

Despite the earlier clashes between the Philippines and China, the former’s President, Rodrigo Duterte has shifted to a more pro-Beijing stance of late.

Both countries have increased the number of joint military exercises that they have conducted and has even stated “China wants to be friends” with the Philippines.

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