ADDS DETAILS TO CHINA DESIGNATIONS, SUDAN LISTING REMOVAL HAS BEGUN, COMMENTS ON ARMENIA-AZERBAIJAN TALKS
By Michael Hernandez
WASHINGTON (AA) – The US on Wednesday designated the US operations of six additional Chinese media outlets as foreign missions amid escalating tensions with Beijing.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said all of the companies were "substantially-owned or effectively-controlled by" the Chinese government, but said the listings will not restrict information the outlets can publish in the US.
"We simply want to ensure that the American people, consumers of information, can differentiate between news written by a free press, and propaganda distributed by the Chinese Communist Party itself," he told reporters at the State Department. "They’re not the same thing."
The newly designated firms — Yicai Global, Jiefang Daily, Xinmin Evening News, Social Sciences in China Press, Beijing Review and Economic Daily — are the latest tranche of such actions by the US, which have repeatedly prompted reprisals from China.
The US in June listed China Central Television, China News Service, the People’s Daily and the Global Times after adding four other companies in February.
Under the foreign mission designation, the outlets must adhere to certain criteria that apply to consulates and embassies, including notifying the Office of Foreign Missions in the State Department of their current personnel in the US and basic information about those individuals.
They are also supposed to inform US authorities if anyone departs or a new employee arrives — a standard requirement for an embassy or consulate.
Also, the media organizations' owned or leased property are subject to approval from the Office of Foreign Missions.
The decision to begin designating Chinese media outlets followed Beijing's expulsion of three Wall Street Journal employees in February after a controversial editorial appeared in the newspaper criticizing China’s handling of the coronavirus outbreak.
– US begins process to remove Sudan from terror list
While addressing reporters at the State Department, Pompeo said the US has begun the process to remove Sudan from its State Sponsors of Terrorism list, a move long-sought by Khartoum.
He said he did not have an exact date when the process would be completed but after Sudanese officials agreed to send hundreds of millions of dollars to victims of past terror attacks and their families, their removal is "the right thing to do."
"We believe there’s a firm legal basis for doing that, and we believe there will be enormous bipartisan consensus that that’s the right thing to do," he said.
The Governor of Sudan’s Central Bank, Mohamed Alfatih Zain Alabdin, confirmed Tuesday that Sudan transferred $335 million to the families of the twin 1998 bombings on the US Embassies in Kenya and Tanzania.
The US placed Sudan on the terror list in 1993 on accusations of supporting terror groups. In 1997, Washington imposed economic sanctions on Khartoum and tightened them a year later after the attacks.
– Meetings with Armenian, Azerbaijani counterparts
Ahead of his meeting with top diplomats from Armenia and Azerbaijan on Friday, Pompeo said the situation remains "complicated."
"It’s a complicated situation on the ground. It’s a complicated diplomatic situation," he said. "And in our view remains, as does the view of nearly every European country, that the right path forward is to cease the conflict, tell them to de-escalate, that every country should stay out, provide no fuel for this conflict, no weapon systems, no support."