US severs bilateral ties with China, orders closure of consulate in Houston
The United States has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston.
The order issued on Tuesday July 21, 2020, was a move to sever the bilateral ties between the world’s two biggest economies.
A source disclosed that Beijing was considering a retaliatory move to shut down the U.S. consulate in Wuhan.
While confirming this in a statement, China’s foreign ministry said Washington “abruptly demanded” closure of the Houston consulate on Tuesday.
It stressed that it was an “unprecedented escalation.”
The State Department confirmed and justified the decision. It said that the move was made “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information."
Beijing condemned the order and threatened retaliation, but did not say what measures it might take.
Speaking on a visit to Denmark, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo offered no specifics, but repeated accusations about Chinese theft of U.S. and European intellectual property, which he said were costing “hundreds of thousands of jobs.”
“President Trump has said enough - we are not going to allow this to continue to happen,” he told a news conference.
“We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave.
"And when they don’t, we are going to take action to protect the American people, protect our national security and also protect our economy and jobs.
“That’s the actions that you’re seeing taken by President Trump, we’ll continue to engage in this,” Pompeo said.
Ties between the United States and China have worsened sharply this year over a range of issues, from the coronavirus and telecoms gear maker Huawei to China’s territorial claims in the South China Sea and its imposition of a new security law on the former British colony of Hong Kong.