On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said he hoped to close all Chinese Confucius Institute cultural centers on US university campuses by the end of this year.
“I think everybody sees the risk associated with them,” Pompeo said in an interview with Fox Business Network. He accused the Chinese government-funded institutions of recruiting “spies and collaborators” at US universities. “My hope is that we can shut them all down by the end of the year,” pompeo said.
Last month, Pompeo called the center that runs the Confucius Institute in the United States “an entity that promotes Beijing’s global propaganda and malign influence” and required it to register as a foreign mission.
David Stilwell, the top American diplomat for East Asia, said at the time that dozens of Confucius Institutes on American campuses had not been closed, but that American universities should “take a hard look” at what they were doing on campus.
Wang Yi, the Chinese government’s top diplomat, warned Pompeo last month about the need to avoid a new cold war, an apparent reference to escalating tensions between the US and China.
Pompeo said “the cold War analogy has some relevance” but is different from China’s challenge. “Unlike the Cold War, our challenge is a country of 1.4 billion people,” he said.
Pompeo cited actions taken by the Trump administration to limit the activities of Chinese companies like Huawei and said he expected further action.
“I think in the coming days and weeks we are going to see the United States confront this issue in a very serious way, all for the good of the American economy,” pompeo said.
On August 13 local time, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced that Confucius Institute CENTERS in the US are required to register as “foreign missions”. In a statement at the time, Pompeo called the Washington-based Confucius Institute American Center “an entity that promotes Beijing’s global advocacy and malign influence activities on U.S. campuses and primary and secondary classrooms.”
This is not the first time for the US side to designate a Chinese agency as a “foreign mission”. In February and June this year, the US State Department designated nine Chinese media outlets as “foreign missions” in two batches. Under the Foreign Missions Act, once registered as a “foreign Mission,” you must report to the State Department the names of all staff members and their properties.