Second group of U.S. diplomats fly back to China amid frayed ties

By Humeyra Pamuk (Reuters) - More than 100 U.S.

Reuters July 16, 2020 04:10:32 IST
Second group of U.S. diplomats fly back to China amid frayed ties

Second group of US diplomats fly back to China amid frayed ties

By Humeyra Pamuk

(Reuters) - More than 100 U.S. diplomats and family members flew to China on Wednesday, according to internal State Department emails, as Washington pressed ahead with its plan to restaff its diplomatic mission at a time of heightened tensions between the world's two largest economies.

A chartered commercial aircraft left Dulles airport outside Washington for the South Korean capital, Seoul, where passengers would transfer to another aircraft outfitted for medical operations before flying to the Chinese city of Guangzhou.

The flight, only the second one of many required to return more than 1,200 U.S. diplomats with their families, was the first since talks between Washington and Beijing hit an impasse two weeks ago over conditions China wanted to impose on the Americans, prompting the State Department to postpone flights tentatively scheduled for the first 10 days of July.

The United States is working to fully restaff its mission in China, one of its largest in the world, which was evacuated in February because of the coronavirus outbreak. A Department email dated Wednesday and viewed by Reuters said more flights were being arranged to take diplomats back.

"For those still waiting to return, we are in the process of getting approvals from the Department for subsequent flights to Guangzhou, Shanghai, and Tianjin/Beijing in the coming weeks.   Due to PRC regulations, these flights will be limited to a maximum of 120 passengers," it said.

The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated to their lowest level in decades over issues including China's handling of the pandemic, bilateral trade and a new security law for Hong Kong.

Washington and Beijing have been negotiating for weeks over the terms of how to bring U.S. diplomats back and the top issues of disagreement have been testing and quarantine procedures for diplomats and families as well the frequency of flights and how many one journey can bring back.

The State Department internally told its staff that it had received assurances from Chinese authorities that parents would not be separated from their children if they tested positive.

But disagreements over other issues, such as testing being conducted in Chinese labs, have persisted.

Diplomats say agreeing to be tested contravenes the 1961 Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations. The internal email said that on arrival in China, adults and children of all ages should be prepared to undergo a nasal and/or throat swab COVID-19 test.

(Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk; Editing by Mary Milliken and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones
Business

Apple will enable storage of IDs like drivers licenses on iPhones

By Stephen Nellis (Reuters) -Apple Inc on Monday said it will offer the ability to store state-issued identification cards digitally on iPhones and that it is working with the U.S. Transportation Security Administration to accept the digital IDs at airports, one of several updates to the software that runs on its devices. It also showed updates to its FaceTime video chat app, adding the ability to schedule calls with multiple attendees and making the software compatible with Android and Windows devices.

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions
Business

Airline bosses call on UK and U.S. to lift trans-Atlantic travel restrictions

LONDON (Reuters) - The bosses of all airlines flying passenger services between Britain and the United States called on Monday for the countries' governments to relax COVID-19 restrictions to reopen travel routes between the two countries. After more than a year of restrictions, the CEOs of American Airlines, IAG unit British Airways, Delta Air Lines, United Airlines and JetBlue Airways Corp said high vaccination rates in both countries meant travel could restart safely. The push for reopening trans-Atlantic routes on Monday comes ahead of meetings between U.S.

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options
Business

EU patience wearing thin with UK on N.Ireland, weighing options

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union's patience towards Britain over Brexit arrangements in Northern Ireland is wearing thin and the bloc will consider its options should Britain continue its "confrontational path", an EU official said on Monday.