The United States on July 22 said it ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close, according to State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
“The United States will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior. President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in U.S.-China relations,” Ortagus said in a statement emailed to The Epoch Times.
“We have directed the closure of PRC consulate general Houston, in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information.”
Ortagus did not offer further details, but pointed to a pair of statements from the Vienna Convention which mandate diplomats to “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving state” and “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that state.”
China called the closure “an unprecedented escalation” and said it would retaliate if the United States did not revoke the order.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said the United States gave it three days to close the consulate.
“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,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
“We urge the U.S. to immediately revoke this erroneous decision. Should it insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures.”
“We are standing by and monitoring.”
The closure of the consulate comes on the heels of an indictment of two Chinese nationals for a decade-long cyber espionage campaign in which they were accused of stealing information on weapons designs, drug information, software source code, and personal data. The indictment is the latest in a vast, nationwide law enforcement campaign to counter the theft of U.S. intellectual property and other aspects of infiltration by the Chinese Communist Party.