China said on Monday that it will take all necessary measures to safeguard the legitimate rights and interests of Chinese journalists in response to the United States delaying Chinese reporters' visa renewals.
Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said at a regular news conference that China urges the US to stop its political persecution and suppression of Chinese journalists, or it will take resolute countermeasures based on the principle of answering words with words and actions with actions.
In March, the US expelled 60 Chinese reporters working in the US, and in May, the country limited visas for Chinese journalists to 90 days. The US has so far listed 15 Chinese media outlets as "foreign missions".
China has taken reciprocal measures against such practices.
Wang said some Chinese journalists were granted visa extensions last week with a validity period between Aug 4 and Nov 4, meaning that their visas will expire in less than a week. They could stay in the US for another 90 days while applying for another visa renewal.
He added that some journalists have still yet to receive approval for an extension of their visa.
While awaiting the extension, the US required that they not engage in news coverage, Wang said.
Also on Monday, in response to Australia's accusation that Chinese customs officers are delaying imports of its lobsters, Wang said that China's customs authorities conduct inspections and quarantine imported seafood at ports of entry in accordance with laws, and seafood must pass the tests before being allowed to enter China.
The practice is to enforce China's laws and regulations and guarantee food safety for Chinese consumers, Wang said.
China has banned imports of Australian timber and barley, and may also ban imports of copper ore, copper concentrate and sugar from Australia, the South China Morning Post reported.
Wang said that sound and stable China-Australia relations are in the interests of the two peoples.
Mutual respect is the basis of and guarantee for practical cooperation between countries, he said, adding that he hopes Australia will do more to promote mutual trust and cooperation and bring bilateral ties back on the right track.