New cold war between U.S. and China
July 24, 2020 - China has ordered the United States to close its consulate in the city of Chengdu, responding to a U.S. demand that China close its Houston consulate, ratcheting up tension between the two superpowers.
“The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the U.S.,” the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement Friday. “It conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices.”
On July 21, the U.S. government reportedly gave China 72 hours to shut down its consulate in Houston, Texas. The U.S. State Department cited Beijing’s ongoing violations of U.S. sovereignty, including espionage.
The tit-for-tat closures are just the latest moves in the fraught relationship between Washington and Beijing. Relations have worsened in recent months on fronts ranging from trade, China’s claims in the South China Sea, intellectual property theft, human rights abuses, and the handling of the novel coronavirus.
The State Department has alleged that China is using its embassy in Washington DC and its five consulates across the United States for spying and propaganda operations.
The Houston consulate has reportedly been under FBI scrutiny for several years over the alleged presence of Chinese intelligence officers.
U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said in a speech on Thursday that Washington and its allies must use “more creative and assertive ways” to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its methods, calling it “the mission of our time”.
- What the Closure of a Consulate Could Mean for U.S.-China Tensions (Stratfor)
- China Orders U.S. to Close Chengdu Consulate in Retaliation Move (Bloomberg)
- Pompeo urges more assertive approach to Frankenstein China (Reuters)
- U.S. Says Most of China’s Claims in South China Sea Are Illegal (New York Times)
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