The Trump administration on Thursday designated the Confucius Institute U.S. Center as a foreign mission of the Chinese Communist Party, alleging that the program to help teach Chinese language classes in America is part of Beijings propaganda and influence operations on campuses and other classrooms.
The action tracks with earlier decisions to add Chinese media outlets to the list of organizations that should be considered foreign missions due to their ties to the Chinese government and the Chinese Communist Party.
During the talks, Beijing officials are expected to bring up a variety of issues, from agricultural goods to the recent measures against Chinese social media apps in the U.S.
The Peoples Republic of China has taken advantage of Americas openness to undertake large-scale and well-funded propaganda efforts and influence operations in this country, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
"For more than four decades, Beijing has enjoyed free and open access to USA society, while denying that same access to Americans and other foreigners in China", Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a statement.
Pompeo said the goal of the USA action is "to ensure that American educators and school administrators can make informed choices about whether these CCP-backed (Chinese Communist Party) programs should be allowed to continue, and if so, in what fashion".
The world's top two economies are at loggerheads on issues ranging from handling of the coronavirus pandemic to China's crackdown on freedoms in Hong Kong and what US officials say is rampant espionage activity to steal USA business and military secrets.
China hopes the United States will stop taking restrictive and discriminatory action against Chinese firms and create conditions for the implementation of a Phase 1 trade deal, assistant minister of commerce Ren Hongbin has said.
The NAS charges that they compromise academic freedom, defy Western norms of transparency, and are inappropriate on campuses.
China's foreign ministry described the report as a "baseless accusation", saying "politicization" of Confucius Institutes is out of "a typical Cold-War mindset".