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U.S. to Allow Chinese Consulate in L.A.

February 26, 1987|PATT MORRISON | Times Staff Writer

The Chinese government will be permitted to open a consulate in Los Angeles in an arrangement that will make it the first Communist Bloc country to maintain a diplomatic presence in Southern California, the State Department has announced.

No site or opening date has been fixed for the consulate, which will become Beijing's fifth in the United States. As part of the reciprocal agreement, the United States has been granted the right to open its own fifth consulate, in the central Chinese city of Wuhan, although State Department spokeswoman Debbie Cavin said there are no plans to do that "in the near future."

Other Chinese consulates are in San Francisco, Chicago, Houston and New York.

Honolulu Plan Dropped

The Chinese request for the second California consulate came in May, 1985, when the government changed its mind and asked for a Los Angeles consulate, rather than the original Honolulu site it had initially agreed to.

"The Chinese asked to open a consulate here instead because the Los Angeles area is more important commercially to China, and has a significantly larger number of (Chinese) students than Honolulu," Cavin said.

The Times reported in December, 1985, that the U.S. government had warned China that some of its diplomats had conducted what were considered to be improper and clandestine activities in the Los Angeles area. A source told The Times that one diplomat was involved in establishing an organization for Chinese students, evidently to keep watch on the increasing flow of Chinese college students into the Southland, and that another had tried to purchase real estate without the permission of the U.S. government.

"The P.R.C. (People's Republic of China) has legitimate reasons for requesting a consulate in Los Angeles," Cavin said Wednesday. "Our expectations are that the conduct of the Chinese will be consistent with U.S. law."

A State Department spokesman indicated that the delay in opening the Wuhan consulate is tied to budget restrictions, saying, "It would be natural to assume that one of the reasons for our not establishing a consulate in Wuhan is a matter of money."

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