LONDON — The already rocky relationship between the United States and China has taken a turbulent turn, with Beijing moving to expel American journalists from the country.After almost two years of on-off trade talks, tariffs, counter-tariffs and several disputes centered around national security concerns in the technology sector, the latest escalation comes as the coronavirus pandemic creates a fresh impasse between the world’s two largest economies.So at a moment when the world faces a threat that does not respect national boundaries or cultural differences, the free passage of crucial data and understanding seems to have become the latest casualty of the pandemic.On Wednesday, a Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson said the decision to force an estimated 13 reporters from The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post and The New York Times to leave China within a week or so was a “proportionate response” to previous U.S. government action placing limits on Chinese state-controlled news media organizations.”China didn’t start it. China is not responsible for it either,” said Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Geng Shuang at a briefing Wednesday.But The Washington Post’s executive editor, Marty Baron, told NBC News that the decision was “particularly regrettable because it comes in the midst of

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