China’s embassy in Washington has released a security advisory to Chinese tourists traveling to the United States as trade tensions increase between the two countries.
“Public security in the United States is not good. Cases of shootings, robberies and theft are frequent,” the embassy said in the alert published on its website.
The embassy warned Chinese tourists to be aware of the expensive U.S. expensive medical system; the threat of public shootings and robberies; telecommunications fraud, and natural disasters.
“Travellers in the United States should be alert to their surroundings and suspicious individuals, and avoid going out alone at night,” reads the notice.
The travel warning comes as the two countries posture an all-out trade war. After weeks of threats, the United States is set to implement tariffs July 6 on approximately US$34 billion in Chinese imports.
China’s Foreign Ministry Spokesman Lu Kang said his country is “fully prepared” to take action against the United States in terms of trade, accusing U.S. President Donal Trump of trade protectionism.
Trump says China participates in unfair trade tactics and is slapping on taxes to some US$34 billion worth of Chinese goods that enter the country each year. He has also talked about placing tariffs on an additional US$450 billion worth of Chinese imports.
In line with Trump’s protectionist rhetoric, on Monday the president alluded to leaving the World Trade Organization, complaining to reporters: “The WTO has treated the United States very, very badly and I hope they change their ways.”
China says it has no problem in retaliating with its own set of tariffs, mainly on U.S. agricultural products and other goods.
Asked on Tuesday if the alert was politically motivated to coincide with the tariff attack, Lu responded that summer is the high season for the Chinese to travel abroad, including to the United States. Chinese embassies have an obligation to warn citizens about travel risks abroad, said Lu.
“This kind of reminder from the Chinese embassy in the relevant country, I think this is absolutely a matter that is in the scope of our duty,” Lu told reporters at a press conference.
China frequently issues international travel warnings, though they are generally in war zones.