US, China in embassy billing spat

AP News
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Posted: Jul 01, 2011 10:09 AM
US, China in embassy billing spat

The State Department is hitting China with a nearly $1 million tab for help the U.S. provided so that China could get a zoning waiver to turn its old embassy in Washington into a residential complex.

Department officials said Friday they have presented China with a $923,930 bill for services rendered after Chinese officials unexpectedly charged the U.S. embassy in Beijing the same amount to get the permits necessary to build an annex. The officials said these fees are usually waived as a matter of courtesy, but protocol demands reciprocity in such cases.

Under an agreement between the U.S. and China, Washington was obliged to help Beijing get local approval to revamp its former embassy before it could build its embassy annex in Beijing.