China has slammed the US for asking Beijing to close its consulate in Houston in the state of Texas. Accusing the US of “unilateral political provocation,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said that the US push to have the Houston consulate closed was “a grave violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations,” Chinese daily Global Times reported.
Urging Washington “to immediately correct its mistakes,” Wenbin told a press conference in Beijing: “Otherwise, China will make a legitimate and necessary response.” The US move is a “grave violation” of related provisions of the China-US Consular Treaty, and a “deliberate attempt to undermine China-US relations,” the spokesman added.
Calling the US action “an unprecedented escalation of its moves against China,” Wenbin said: “For some time, the US has been attacking and launching smear campaigns against China, and unreasonably made trouble for staff members at Chinese consulates.”
Wenbin said the US Embassy in China “often publishes articles [on its website] openly attacking China.” “It is clear who is interfering in other countries’ internal affairs and who is infiltrating and inciting confrontations,” he added.
Earlier, the United States ordered China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston, Texas in 72 hours. According to the Chinese foreign ministry, the decision was announced earlier today by the Donald Trump administration. The closure of the consulate lands another blow to the already deteriorating Sino-US relations.
The closure in Houston is the latest effort by the Trump administration to tighten the reins on Chinese diplomats, journalists, scholars and others in the United States.
As per the New York Times, Washington is also considering a ban on travel to the US by members of the Communist Party and their families, a move that would affect 270 million people.
Just hours after the Consulate was ordered to shut down, smoke was seen billowing from a courtyard inside the consulate as employees dumped what appeared to be flaming documents according to a video posted by KPRC-TV, a local television station.
Firefighters did rush to the spot as did the local police but were unable to enter the building which has Chinese sovereignty.
This is not the first time the Trump administration has ordered an embassy to shut down. In 2017, the Trump administration ordered Russia to close its consulate in San Francisco, along with two annexes near New York and Washington.