Former Trump adviser says China delayed
visa to attend forum
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[April 18, 2019]
WASHINGTON (Reuters) - A former U.S.
defense official who served on the Trump transition team said on
Wednesday he had been prevented from speaking at a forum in China after
its embassy in Washington failed to approve his visa.
Michael Pillsbury said he submitted a visa application on March 22 and
it had not been granted in time for him to travel to Beijing for the
April 14 event.
"So, is this a subtle message of some kind, or just a mistake,"
Pillsbury told Reuters, adding he was still "waiting patiently for my
visa to be issued".
In Beijing, Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said he needed to look
into the details of the situation, but in principle Chinese embassies
handle visa applications in accordance with the law and China welcomed
people-to-people exchanges with the United States.
"We welcome and are willing to proactively promote China-U.S.
people-to-people exchanges and promote mutual understanding between the
two countries," he said.
Beijing and Washington are currently in talks to end a bitter trade war,
but have also sparred over other issues such as human rights and U.S.
support for self-ruled Taiwan, which China claims as its sacred
Pillsbury said the visa delay could be in retaliation for U.S. visa
restrictions on some Chinese academics, which the New York Times
reported on Sunday, citing Chinese scholars who said their U.S. visas
had been canceled.
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Pillsbury said he had been invited to the forum by the Center for
China and Globalization (CCG), which co-organized the event with an
association under China's Commerce Ministry.
A CCG invitation sent to journalists included Pillsbury on a list of
confirmed attendees along with experts, ambassadors and former
government officials from around the world.
The agenda said Pillsbury, a senior fellow focused on China at the
conservative Hudson Institute, was to take part in a panel
discussion on tensions in U.S.-China relations.
"I'm surprised at this delay which is usually reserved only for
harsh critics of China," said Pillsbury, whose book 'The Hundred
Year Marathon - China's Secret Strategy to Replace America' was
translated by China's National Defense University.
"Chinese have told me they consider my views to be a 'moderate' hawk
not a 'super hawk,' who they would never invite," he said.
A spokesman for the New York-based Asia Society said one of its
experts, Wendy Cutler, a former U.S. trade official, had also not
received a visa in time to attend the April forum.
(Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Ben Blanchard and Michael
Martina; Editing by Darren Schuettler)
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