China Says U.S. Told It to Shut Its Houston Consulate

US and China will meet for the first time at a high level since Russia's attack on Ukraine as Biden tries to get Beijing's help with the war.

China said on Wednesday that the United States had abruptly told it to close its consulate in the city of Houston, a move that Beijing said it strongly condemns, threatening retaliation, Reuters informs.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular daily news briefing that China had been notified on Tuesday that it must close the consulate.

He said the consulate was operating normally, following local media reports in Houston on Tuesday night that documents were being burned in a courtyard at the consulate.

China said the move was unilaterally initiated by the U.S. and Beijing would “react with firm countermeasures” if the Trump administration doesn’t “revoke this erroneous decision,” Bloomberg adds.

It accused the U.S. of harassing diplomatic staff and intimidating Chinese students, confiscating personal electrical devices and detaining them without cause. Chinese diplomatic missions and personnel also recently received bomb and death threats, it added.

“China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-U.S. relations,” the Foreign Ministry said. “We urge the U.S. to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision. Otherwise China will make legitimate and necessary reactions.”

It wasn’t immediately clear what spurred the move by the U.S., which has clashed with China over everything from trade and 5G networks to territorial disputes and responsibility for the pandemic.

The Justice Department on Tuesday accused two Chinese hackers of working for Beijing to steal or try to steal terabytes of data, including coronavirus research, from Western companies in 11 nations.

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