US orders China to close Houston consulate in transfer China calls ‘unprecedented escalation’


Beijing, July 22

The United States has advised China to shut its consulate in Houston, each nations stated on Wednesday, deepening a deterioration in bilateral relations, and a supply stated Beijing was contemplating shutting down the US consulate in Wuhan.

Washington had “abruptly demanded” closure of the Houston consulate on Tuesday, a Chinese overseas ministry spokesman stated, and the editor of an official media outlet stated on Twitter that China had been given 72 hours to take action.

Beijing condemned the order and threatened retaliation, however didn’t say what measures it would take.

Late on Tuesday in Houston, native media reported that paperwork had been burned in a courtyard on the consulate constructing. Chinese overseas ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated the consulate was working usually, declining to remark additional on these experiences.

Ties between the United States and China have worsened sharply this yr over a variety of points, from the novel coronavirus and telecoms gear maker Huawei to China’s territorial claims within the South China Sea and its imposition of a nationwide safety legislation on Hong Kong.

The US Department of State confirmed the Houston closure choice.

The transfer was made “in order to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information”, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus stated in an announcement.

“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behaviour,” she added, utilizing an acronym for China’s official title, the People’s Republic of China.

Retaliation risk

It was not instantly clear why China’s Houston consulate had been singled out.

“The unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China,” Chinese overseas ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin advised an everyday information briefing.

“We urge the US to immediately revoke this erroneous decision. Should it insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures,” he stated.

The US authorities had been harassing Chinese diplomats and consular workers for a while, Wang stated, and “intimidating and interrogating Chinese students and confiscating their personal electrical devices, even detaining them”.

He stated the United States had interfered with China’s diplomatic missions, together with intercepting diplomatic pouches and confiscating Chinese gadgets for “official use”. He didn’t specify whether or not the actions had been associated to the Houston consulate.

Wuhan consulate

A supply with direct information of the matter stated China was contemplating closing the US consulate in Wuhan, the place the State Department withdrew workers and their households early this yr amid the coranavirus outbreak that first emerged within the central metropolis.

It was not instantly clear what different measures China might contemplate.

China’s overseas ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon whether or not it could shut the consulate.

The US embassy in Beijing referred a question to the State Department. Last month, it had stated that the United States would quickly resume operations on the Wuhan consulate. Reuters 

A supply with direct information of the matter stated China was contemplating closing the US consulate in Wuhan, the place the State Department withdrew workers and their households early this yr amid the coranavirus outbreak that first emerged within the central metropolis.

It was not instantly clear what different measures China might contemplate.

China’s overseas ministry didn’t instantly reply to a request for touch upon whether or not it could shut the consulate.

The US embassy in Beijing referred a question to the State Department. Last month, it had stated that the United States would quickly resume operations on the Wuhan consulate. Reuters

 



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