The US ordered China to shut itsconsulate general in Houston city, Beijing said on Wednesday, adding that it was an “unprecedented escalation” in Washington’s recent actions against China and warned of “legitimate and necessary” response against the decision. This dramatic development is sure to further sour the rapidly deteriorating bilateral ties with the two countries already at loggerheads over South China Sea disputes, the Hong Kong security bill, US arms sales to Taiwan, the condition of minorities in Xinjiang, and the origin of the coronavirus besides an ongoing trade war.
Earlier on Wednesday, Hu Xijin, the editor of the Communist Party’s Global Times newspaper said Washington had given 72 hours to Beijing – that is by July 24 – to close down the Houston consulate.
Hu’s tweet came hours after Houston police and firefighters descended on the consulate following witness reports that papers were being burned outside in open containers, the Houston Chronicle and two local TV stations reported, citing local police.
In Beijing, the Chinese foreign ministry lashed out at the Donald Trump administration for passing the order.
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“It is a political provocation unilaterally launched by the US side, which seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the US.”
Speaking at the regular ministry briefing, Wang said, “China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-US relations. We urge the US to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision, otherwise, China will make legitimate and necessary reactions”.
“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,” Wang said and listed allegations of Washington harassing its diplomats and students in the US.
“For some time, the US government has been shifting the blame to China with stigmatisation and unwarranted attacks against China’s social system, harassing Chinese diplomatic and consular staff in the US, intimidating and interrogating Chinese students and confiscating their personal electrical devices, even detaining them without cause,” Wang said.
The spokesperson said China had shown goodwill to US diplomats in China