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  • Aerial view of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, U.S., July 22, 2020.

    Aerial view of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas, U.S., July 22, 2020. | Photo: Twitter/ @ketelaars_sarah

Published 22 July 2020
Opinion

China described the decision as "a violation of international norms and consular agreements."

The U.S. State Department Wednesday confirmed that it has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas. This decision has been harshly criticized by Beijing.

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The order issued by Washington comes amid political tensions that have confronted the world's two largest economies for months.

According to State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, the closure of the Chinese Consulate occurred to protect U.S. intellectual property and its citizens' private information

The Vienna Convention establishes that diplomats must "respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State" and "have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State," Ortagus said, as reported by CNBC.

She added that Washington "would not tolerate violations by the People's Republic of China of U.S. sovereignty and intimidation of our people," in the same way "that we have not tolerated the unfair trade practices of this country, the theft of U.S. jobs and other behavior. Heinous,".

Previously, China denounced that the U.S. had demanded the immediate closure of its consulate in Houston, a measure that was described as "unprecedented" provocation.

Chinese Foreign Affairs Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin stated that "the U.S. has called for the immediate cessation of all operations of the consulate as of July 24," which is "a violation of international norms and consular agreements. between the two countries, as well as an attempt to undermine bilateral relations."

"We ask the U.S. to retract this erroneous decision, or else China will take legitimate and necessary retaliation," said Wang, adding that closing the consulate "in such a short period" implies "an unprecedented increase in the actions that country has carried out against China."

This incident comes a day after the U.S. accused Chinese intelligence services of supporting cyberattacks by two Chinese 'hackers' against companies from 11 countries to steal vaccine data for COVID-19 and secrets of military technology.

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