BEIJING: China said on Wednesday the United States had abruptly told it to close its consulate in the city of Houston, a move that Beijing said it strongly condemns, threatening retaliation.
The United States gave the Chinese side a deadline of three days to close the mission in the Texas city, the Chinese foreign ministry said.
The US State Department said on Wednesday that the recent closing of China’s consulate inHouston
was to protect Americans’ intellectual property and private information.
“We have directed the closure of PRC Consulate GeneralHouston, in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus told reporters during US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Copenhagen, adding that under the Vienna Convention states “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs” of the receiving state.Relations between the United States and China have deteriorated significantly since the outbreak of the novel coronavirus in the Chinese city of Wuhan at the beginning of the year.
“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 foreign ministry spokesman
told a regular news 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 countermeasur