The Chinese Foreign Ministry ordered the United States on Friday to close the US Consulate in the city of Chengdu. The forced closure comes two days after the US ordered China to close the Chinese consulate in the US city of Houston.
“The State Department of China has informed the United States Embassy in China of the decision to withdraw the consent of the United States Consulate in Chengdu,” China said in a statement. “The Ministry has also set specific requirements regarding the cessation of all consulate activities and events.”
It is the latest development in the rapidly deteriorating relationship between the two countries.
On Wednesday, the US ordered China to close the Chinese consulate in Houston within 72 hours. The US said it did this to protect US intellectual property and the private information of Americans.
“China has been engaged in large-scale, illegal espionage and influencing operations in the US targeting US government officials and US citizens for years. These activities have significantly increased in number and size in the past few years,” the State Department said. in a statement.
According to the US government, China has interfered in American domestic policy, among other things. In addition, the country is said to have stolen intellectual property, extorted American entrepreneurs and threatened the families of Chinese Americans living in China.
China promised reprisals
China called the consulate closure Wednesday “an unheard of escalation”, in violation of international law. The Chinese government promised reprisals if the US did not reverse the decision. Sources previously reported that the closure of the U.S. Consulate in the Chinese city of Wuhan is being considered.
The US and China are at odds over a multitude of issues. The two countries are waging a trade war, fighting for influence in the tech world, and clashing over territorial issues such as China’s claims to the South China Sea. The Trump administration also holds China as primarily responsible for the global outbreak of the COVID-19 virus.