USA abruptly informs Beijing to CLOSE consulate in Houston - Chinese Foreign Ministry

Friday, 24 Jul, 2020

Investors also will be keeping a close watch on USA weekly jobless claims figures due at 1230 GMT for the latest indications of how the novel coronavirus pandemic has affected the American economy. Over the past few weeks, Trump and top administration officials have accused Beijing of willfully letting the coronavirus into the world to destroy the United States economy and weaken the country in a bid to challenge its primacy, and as part of this strategy of making aggressive military moves in the Indo-Pacific region. That official declined to comment on why the decision was now made to close the Houston consulate.

China was informed of the decision Tuesday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said, calling it "an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries".

"We face several different challenges and the tail risks are getting higher and higher", Abbasi said, pointing to U.S.

A former official who left the Trump administration previous year said Trump often rejected advisers who urged him to impose tougher punitive measures on China for fear it would jeopardize trade negotiations.

Beijing condemned the order and threatened retaliation. He warned that Beijing will retaliate if the United States does not reverse its decision.

The closure order also follows reports that the Trump administration is considering a ban that would keep Chinese Communist Party members and their families from traveling to the U.S. The Chinese Consulate in Houston was opened in 1979, according to a statement on its website.

"The November presidential election is driving Washington mad", it said.

"We can't continue to sit by and have China rip us off", LaHood told host Sean Spicer.

Though precedents exist for ordering the closure of a foreign mission - the US told Russian Federation to shut its consulate in San Francisco three years ago - such moves are rare.

"We took a practical step to prevent them from doing that", Stilwell told the Times.

The US Department of State confirmed the closure decision.

The official, who was not authorized to discuss the matter publicly and spoke on condition of anonymity, said the closure of the Wuhan consulate might mitigate China's response to the shutdown of the Houston consulate.

Hu Xijin, editor-in-chief of China's Global Times newspaper, tweeted that Beijing was given 72 hours to vacate the consulate building.

The move comes as tensions soar between the world's two biggest economies on a number of fronts, including a controversial national security law in semi-autonomous Hong Kong.

Wang also refuted the USA claim of unequal relations between the two countries and the so-called China's infiltration into the US, pointing out that it is the United States that has repeatedly set restrictions against Chinese diplomats, opened diplomatic bags from China without permission and seized China's articles intended for official use. The Trump administration has also demonstrably thrown its weight behind India in its border clash following China's incursions, sending an aircraft carrier group for exercises in the Bay of Bengal with an eye on China's depredations.

There were indications consulate staff were preparing to leave: Papers were being burned on the consulate grounds late Tuesday night - a common practice when a diplomatic post is being shuttered on short notice.

The Chinese consulate in San Francisco and Tang could not be immediately reached for comment. The State Department has repeatedly accused of the Chinese telecommunications giant of economic espionage and has been dissuading its allies from using the company's equipment in their 5G infrastructure.