The US State Department said on Friday it had terminated five cultural exchange programs with China in the latest move targeting cultural exchange activities between the two countries.
These programs are the Policymakers Educational China Trip Program, the US-China Friendship Program, the US-China Leadership Exchange Program, the US-China Transpacific Exchange Program and the Hong Kong Educational and Cultural Program. "Such programs," claimed the department on its website, are "soft power propaganda tools."
The decision was announced over one month after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo threatened to close all Confucius Institutes in the US in October.
In a response to Pompeo's remarks on Confucius Institutes, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Zhao Lijian said that China has urged the US to stop politicizing educational exchange programs and regular people-to-people exchanges, and to promote mutual trust and cooperation between the two countries.
He rebuked Pompeo's groundless remarks, saying they were made out of ideological prejudice and political interests.
The spokesperson also warned that Pompeo's comments had severely harmed mutual trust and cooperation between China and the US.