In the autumn the two diplomats, accompanied by their wives, had gone by car to the check-in point of the sensitive military base near Norfolk, Virginia. It is a sensitive base because special forces are housed there. The guard at the entrance of the base has verified that the officials of the Chinese embassy in Washington did not have the authorization to enter and invited them to make reversal inside the site to go out.But they are not stopped. According to the reconstruction of the NYT, instead of leaving the Chinese diplomats would have continued to move forward inside the base, evading the military personnel who followed them, until they were blocked by fire trucks.
The reason for this attempted intrusion is not clear: the US believes that the Chinese wanted to study the site's security devices. The Chinese, on the other hand, claim that their citizens, speaking badly English, did not understand the guard's instructions and were lost.
Weeks after the incident, in October, the US State Department introduced restrictions on the activities of Chinese diplomats, requiring them to communicate to the same State Department any official contact with a series of US interlocutors in advance. All this takes place during the week in which the United States and China concluded a preliminary trade agreement after months of confrontation on duties.
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