China has cancelled plans to launch a new visa program in response to a US President Donald Trump’s “very negative” criticism of the country’s travel industry.
The announcement, made on Friday, was made on the eve of the first-ever presidential visit to China by Mr Trump, who has been critical of the nation’s business community.
But it was immediately overshadowed by his criticism of China’s tourism sector.
Mr Trump has been particularly critical of China and its economy, particularly its high cost of living and high number of counterfeit currency and goods, which he said cost US manufacturers billions of dollars.
He told a group of Chinese business leaders on Friday he was not going to visit China because of the problems he was seeing with its business people and the government, a White House official said.
“I want you to know that I think it is very important that we not see the Chinese in a negative light,” the official said, speaking on condition of anonymity.
China is one of the world’s top 10 tourist destinations.
At the same time, Mr Trump’s criticism has also sparked a diplomatic spat between Beijing and Washington, with the US State Department saying it would not consider travel visas to be a substitute for trade and economic ties with Beijing.
On Friday, the State Department said the President’s comments on the issue were “a very negative portrayal of the Chinese tourism industry” and called on Beijing to take steps to improve its economy.
Earlier this month, China suspended a proposed plan to allow US tourists to visit its Xinjiang Uygur Autonomous Region, which borders the heavily Muslim region, and said it would also restrict Chinese-Uygur trade in goods and services.
Last month, a Chinese court ruled that the Xinjiang region is an “internal domain” under China, making it a priority to boost its tourism industry.
China is the world champion in the Chinese tour industry, with more than 50 million visitors a year and an annual gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion.
It is also the biggest tourist destination in the world.
US President Donald J. Trump is accompanied by Chinese President Xi Jinping as they depart the White House after meeting in the East Room of the White Houses in Washington, DC, on November 25, 2021.
A number of countries including Canada, the European Union and Mexico have already issued travel advisories and tightened visa requirements, but Mr Trump has yet to follow through.
With the new restrictions, which affect travel to and from China, China will now not be able to issue a new “tour visa” to a visitor for a period of 12 months, according to the State Office of the United States Trade Representative.
In an attempt to quell the backlash, China issued a statement late on Friday to explain its decision.
After carefully considering the very serious comments made by President Trump, Chinese Government decided to temporarily cancel visa applications and temporarily restrict business ties with the United State and its companies.
Chinese Government will continue to maintain its strict policy to promote tourism and to protect the national interests of Chinese people.
As the United Nation’s top diplomat for trade, China is the leading producer of foreign direct investment in the United Kingdom, with an estimated $US6.7 trillion ($8.4 trillion) in direct investments in the UK in 2020, according the International Monetary Fund.
Trump’s comments have prompted outrage from Beijing, with its Foreign Ministry spokesman, Hong Lei, calling Mr Trump a “fraud” and a “liar” on Saturday.
President Trump’s actions, which are inconsistent with the values of our two countries, will have an adverse impact on bilateral relations and our international cooperation, Hong said in a statement.
We firmly believe that the US-China relationship is the most important international forum in the Asia-Pacific, Hong added.
While the decision to cancel the visa program is not related to the recent US presidential election, China said it was “in response to the very negative and negative comments made against China’s travel and tourism industry by the US President”.
China has previously said it does not want its economic success to depend on a “one-size-fits-all” approach, saying China should aim for global economic and social development, the Global Times newspaper said.
China has not been shy in expressing its views on travel, which it considers an essential part of the social and economic development of its people.