Tight safety exterior US Chengdu consulate after China orders closure

Chengdu (China), July 25

Security was tight exterior the US consulate within the Chinese metropolis of Chengdu on Saturday as employees inside ready to depart, a day after China ordered it to shut in response to a US order for China to close its consulate in Houston.

The tit-for-tat consulate closures have introduced a pointy deterioration in relations between the world’s two largest economies.

A consulate emblem contained in the compound was eliminated as employees could possibly be seen pushing trolleys and several other consulate autos got here and went.

Police, together with many plain garments officers, gathered exterior and closed off the road to site visitors.

Neither the consulate within the southwestern Chinese metropolis nor the US embassy in Beijing have responded to requests from Reuters for touch upon the closure.

The Chinese order to shut it was retaliation after the Trump administration gave China till four p.m. final Friday to vacate its consulate within the Texas metropolis.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo stated the consulate had been “a hub of spying and intellectual property theft”.

The US consulate in Chengdu was additionally given 72 hours to shut, or till 10 a.m. on Monday, the editor of China’s Global Times tabloid stated on Twitter.

The consulate opened in 1985 and has nearly 200 workers, together with about 150 regionally employed employees, in response to its web site. It was not instantly clear what number of are there now after U.S. diplomats had been evacuated from China due to the pandemic.

A gentle stream of individuals walked alongside the road reverse the doorway all through the day, many stopping to take images or movies earlier than police moved them on.

At the Houston consulate, employees packed up belongings watched by jeering protesters. Shortly after the closure order took impact a gaggle of males who gave the impression to be U.S. officers had been seen forcing open a again door to the power.

Residents in Chengdu expressed blended views on the closure of the US consulate within the metropolis.

“What I fear the most is the US won’t just stop there, it might get uglier,” stated 19-year-old college scholar Zhang Chuhan.

“I approve. The US closed our consulate, I think we should shut theirs too,” stated a person who recognized himself as Jiang, 29.

Relations between Washington and Beijing have deteriorated this yr to what specialists say is their lowest stage in many years over points starting from commerce and know-how to the novel coronavirus, China’s territorial claims within the South China Sea and its clampdown on Hong Kong.

China’s overseas ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin has stated some personnel on the Chengdu consulate had been “conducting activities not in line with their identities” and had interfered in China’s affairs and harmed its safety pursuits. He didn’t say how. Reuters

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