WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States is considering a range of responses to China’s “egregious act” of expelling three U.S. journalists last week, a spokesman for the White House National Security Council (NSC) said on Monday.
Beijing said on Thursday it might take more action against the Wall Street Journal, a day after revoking the credentials of three of the U.S. newspaper’s correspondents over a column that China said was racist.
Asked to comment on a Bloomberg News report that the United States was weighing whether to expel Chinese journalists in response, NSC spokesman John Ullyot said Washington condemned Beijing’s action and added:
“The United States is considering a range of responses to this egregious act.”
The Trump administration announced last Tuesday it would begin treating five major Chinese state-run media entities with U.S. operations the same as foreign embassies, requiring them to register their employees and U.S. properties with the State Department.
Beijing acted after repeatedly calling on the Wall Street Journal to apologize and investigate those responsible for a Feb. 3 column with a headline calling China the “real sick man of Asia.”
Ullyot called the Chinese action “yet another attempt to control the press, and prevent the world’s readers as well as investors from reading important stories about China.”
Bloomberg on Monday quoted unnamed U.S. officials as saying that the U.S. options would be discussed in a White House meeting later in the day led by Matt Pottinger, the deputy national security adviser and a former reporter for the Wall Street Journal and Reuters in Beijing.
The report said some U.S. officials advocated ordering dozens, and perhaps hundreds, of Chinese reporters to leave the United States. Others said this was not legally possible or in keeping with freedom of the press.
Reporting by Jeff Mason and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Sandra Maler and Sonya Hepinstall