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NYT: US Expelled Two Chinese Diplomats For Allegedly Spying On A Military Base In Sept

NYT: US Expelled Two Chinese Diplomats For Allegedly Spying On A Military Base In Sept

The U.S. government secretly expelled two Chinese officials acting under diplomatic cover from the country in September, the New York Times reported on Sunday.

What Happened

The two officials allegedly drove on to a sensitive military base near Norfolk, Virginia, which included a unit of Special Operations forces, The Times said.

The officials entered the base against the instructions of one of the military base's guards, who on realizing that they didn't have the required permissions, asked them to turn around and exit from the base, The Times reported.

Military personnel pursued them inside the base, but the officials, who were accompanied by their wives, didn't stop until fire trucks blocked their path, The Times said.

The officials said that they couldn't understand the English instructions from the guard and simply got lost, a claim that American authorities rejected.

At least one of the two officials is believed to a Chinese intelligence agent acting under diplomatic cover, six people familiar with the matter told The Times.

The American authorities couldn't establish the exact purpose of the officials's visit, but some suspected it was to review the security measures at the base, according to the Times.

Why It Matters

The expulsion of the two Chinese officials comes at a time of heightened tensions between the two countries over security concerns and trade relations.

The American government, under President Donald Trump, has constantly accused Chinese officials and companies of spying on the U.S. government and citizens for the benefit of Beijing.

Most prominently, telecommunications, and social media companies are facing crackdowns in the country.

Telecom giants Huawei Technologies Co. Ltd., and ZTE Corporation (OTC: ZTCOY) are facing sanctions after they were put on the "entity list" in May. Beijing-based ByteDance's video-sharing app TikTok is also facing investigations in the country, with U.S. lawmakers constantly warning citizens against using the app.

The U.S. expulsion of the two diplomats came a month after China accused Julie Eadeh, an American diplomat working in Hong Kong, to be behind the city's protests in August.


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