The United States will take action to prevent alleged espionage by Chinese students, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Thursday, ahead of an expected announcement by President Donald Trump.
Trump earlier said that he will hold a press conference Friday about China amid soaring tensions between the two powers, including over the status of Hong Kong and the novel coronavirus pandemic.
Asked about a report in The New York Times that Trump was considering throwing out thousands of graduate students, Pompeo said that Chinese students “shouldn’t be here in our schools spying.”
“We know we have this challenge. President Trump, I am confident, is going to take that on,” Pompeo told Fox News, while declining to say if action would be announced on Friday.
“We have an obligation — a duty — to make sure that students that are coming here to study… aren’t acting on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party,” Pompeo said.
The New York Times said that the Trump administration was considering annuling visas for thousands of graduate students linked to China’s military..
Asian American activists have long voiced concern that the targeting of Chinese students impacts their own community, with US citizens of Asian ancestry coming under unjustified suspicion.
“This isn’t a red scare, this isn’t racist. Chinese people are a great people,” Pompeo said when asked about the concerns.