China declared “reserve the right to react” if the US intervened in the normal operations of the Confucius Institute, after Pompeo threatened to shut down.
“Confucius Institute operates in the US based on the voluntariness of universities, on the principle of mutual respect and mutual benefit”, Foreign Ministry spokesman Trieu Lap Kien said on October 16, adding that these institutions contribute to fostering cultural exchange and are “strongly welcomed by American universities and the American public”.
Mr. Trieu accused “some American politicians, especially Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, of intentionally undermining cultural and educational exchanges by degrading Confucius Institutes and interfering with their operations.” normal of these facilities “.
“These politicians need to abandon the Cold War mentality and stop interfering with ordinary cultural and people-to-people exchanges. If the US still refuses this, the Chinese reserve the right to have rights. response, “said Mr. Trieu. The Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman did not specify what the response would be.
The statement was made by China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs after Foreign Minister Pompeo in September mentioned China’s Confucius Institute program in the US, accusing Chinese government-sponsored institutions are hiring “spies and collaborators “at American universities. He hopes all Confucius Institutes in the US university campus will close before the end of this year.
According to Pompeo, the Confucius Institutes in the country are “the entities that promote Beijing’s global propaganda and influence” and require them to register as foreign missions, meaning they must. Detailed reporting of personnel information and a thorough inventory of assets in the US, based on the Foreign Mission Act of 1982 (FMA).
As of 2018, China had established 548 institutes and nearly 2,000 Confucius classes in 154 countries, most of which were located on campus of overseas universities or institutions. The goal of the Confucius Institute is to teach the language, to spread Chinese culture and be seen as one of the means to promote the country’s soft power.
The US increased its control over Confucius Institutes as tensions between Washington and Beijing showed no sign of cooling. The administration of US President Donald Trump has launched a series of “blows” on China, such as banning transactions with two of the country’s major companies, ByteDance and Tencent, and punishing top Hong Kong officials, including district chief, closes the Chinese consulate in Houston.
Observers believe that Trump will continue to pressure Beijing in exchange for voter support as the US presidential election approaches.
Mai Lam (Follow RT)