The U.S. and China have a new agreement to ease restrictions on each other’s media workers amid a slight easing of tensions between the two sides. The Unites States reported on Tuesday progress in talks with Chinese authorities on working conditions and access for U.S. journalists in China.

The official China Daily newspaper on Wednesday said the agreement was reached ahead of Tuesday’s virtual summit between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and U.S. President Joe Biden.

Under the agreement, the U.S. and China will issue one-year multiple-entry visas to each other’s media workers and will immediately initiate a process to address “duration of status” issues, the China Daily said. Once the agreement takes effect, both sides will issue media visas for new applicants “based on relevant laws and regulations. 

In the past, limits on media workers have fueled tensions between the two countries for more than a year after the U.S. limited the number of visas issued to Chinese state media workers and required those remaining to register as foreign agents, among other changes.

Of course, ​China responded by expelling journalists working for U.S. outlets and severely restricting conditions for those continuing to work in the country.

With the new agreement, a Beijing official said they had committed to issue visas for a group of U.S. reporters, provided they are eligible under all applicable laws and regulations. They also promised to permit U.S. journalists already in the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to freely depart and return, which they had previously been unable to do, a U.S. official said.

The State Department official said, “Washington would continue to push for expanding access and improving conditions for U.S. and other foreign media, and for broader freedom of the press in general.”

The State Department believes these measures will allow U.S. media correspondents to return to China to continue their important work.

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