The United States has ordered the closure of China’s consulate in the city of Houston, a move Beijing called “an unprecedented escalation” that will sabotage relations between the two countries.
In a statement on Wednesday, Morgan Ortagus, spokeswoman for the US Department of State, said Washington directed the consulate’s closure “in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information”.She did not elaborate further.
In Beijing, a spokesman for China’s foreign ministry said the US gave the Chinese side a deadline of three days to close the mission in the Texas city.
“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 Wenbin 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 countermeasures,” he said.
China “strongly condemns” the “outrageous and unjustified move, which will sabotage China-US relations”, he added.
Bomb and death threats have been made against the Chinese embassy in Washington, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said on Wednesday, blaming the US government.
“As a result of smears & hatred fanned up by the #US gov, the Chinese embassy has received #bomb & #DeathThreats,” she posted on Twitter after the United States told China to close its consulate in Houston
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