Agreement on journalist visas . . .
Hours after U.S. President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping held their first virtual summit on Monday evening, Chinese media reported that the two superpowers had reached an agreement to ease restrictions on journalists operating in their respective countries. Under the deal, both governments will increase the duration of journalist visas from three months to one year. These visas will also accommodate multiple entries, allowing journalists to travel internationally. During the last years of the Trump administration, the U.S. and China were locked in a tit-for-tat spat over media access, which heightened the risks of misunderstanding between the two superpowers.
Leaders agree to disagree . . .
The Biden-Xi summit saw the leaders discuss the “complex nature of their relationship” and the “importance of managing their competition responsibly.” As it is not in either countries’ interest to see their relationship deteriorate further, the two leaders tried to establish some “common-sense guardrails.” They disagreed on the future of Taiwan but identified energy security, North Korea, Afghanistan, and Iran as areas of mutual interest. However, the media agreement was the only tangible outcome to emerge from the virtual meeting.
An eye on the Beijing Olympic Games . . .
With the Beijing Winter Olympics starting in just over two months, the media agreement will allow for more U.S. journalists to cover the Games in person. China had been roundly criticized for its treatment of foreign media tasked with covering the Games, including allegations of denying or ignoring requests for access and harassing some journalists. Whether the coming Olympics provided the impetus for the media agreement, it is, along with the meeting between the two leaders, a welcome step toward stabilizing the U.S.-China relationship. And the friendly tone that both leaders struck in their conversation will hopefully translate into further conversations and concrete actions.
- The New York Times: U.S. and China agree to ease restrictions on journalists
- Protocol: The US-China information freeze begins to thaw
- South China Morning Post: Lawmaker asks LinkedIn, Microsoft why they censored US journalists’ accounts in China