United States considers easing travel advisories to China, Deputy Secretary of State says

Kurt Campbell

10th April 2024 – (Washington) The United States is contemplating the relaxation of travel advisories against its citizens visiting China, stated Deputy Secretary of State Kurt Campbell during an event hosted by the non-profit National Committee on U.S.-China Relations on Tuesday. Campbell acknowledged concerns that these warnings may have hindered exchanges between Americans and Chinese individuals.

Communication channels between Washington and Beijing have largely returned to normalcy after months of heightened tensions, according to Campbell. However, he cautioned that China’s support for Russia’s actions in Ukraine could jeopardize the stability of their relations.

The State Department has periodically issued tiered advisories for Americans travelling to China, urging them to reconsider their visits or exercise increased caution due to potential risks such as “arbitrary enforcement of local laws,” exit bans, and wrongful detentions.

Nonetheless, the leaders of both countries have aimed to rebuild people-to-people exchanges as a means of managing the growing geopolitical competition between the superpowers.

“I don’t want to get ahead of ourselves, but I would just simply say that this is certainly an issue under active consideration,” Campbell responded when asked about the possibility of the U.S. easing travel advisories. He acknowledged that the advisories may have hindered academic and other exchanges.

China has also issued travel warnings for its citizens travelling to the U.S. and criticized what it perceives as increased harassment of Chinese nationals by U.S. agents at entry points—an accusation U.S. officials have denied.

Despite China’s warnings, hundreds of thousands of Chinese students study in the U.S., while the number of Americans in China remains relatively low.

However, Campbell, the State Department’s second-ranking diplomat, who previously stated that China helped Russia “retool” and strengthen its military after initial setbacks in the Ukrainian conflict, sternly warned Beijing about its “substantial” support for Russia’s war efforts.

“We have directly informed China that if this support continues, it will have repercussions on the US-China relationship. We will not sit by and simply say everything is fine,” Campbell emphasized.

Campbell further highlighted that if Russia gains territory in Ukraine, it would disrupt the balance of power in Europe in a manner unacceptable to the United States. He noted that these activities should not be seen as solely Russian actions but rather a joint effort involving China and North Korea.

In addition, Campbell revealed that there has been a significant influx of Chinese migrants seeking better economic conditions in the United States in recent months, potentially numbering in the “hundreds of thousands.” He expressed concern about the magnitude of this trend and mentioned that Beijing seems aware of it but has not taken steps to curb the flow.

“The numbers that we’re seeing are large and, frankly, of gathering concern,” Campbell added.