A department spokesperson accused Beijing of engaging “for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations.”
The State Department announced Wednesday that it directed China to shutter its consulate in Houston “in order to protect American intellectual property” and the “private information” of U.S. citizens.
The sudden action escalates tensions between two countries that have been at loggerheads in recent months over China’s strict new security law for Hong Kong, a breakdown in trade negotiations and President Donald Trump’s criticism of Beijing’s handling of the coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement on the closure order, a State Department spokesperson accused China of engaging “for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations throughout the United States against U.S. government officials and American citizens.”
“The Vienna Convention states 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,’” State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said. “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.”
Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin, speaking at a daily news briefing in Beijing, called the American order to close the consulate an “outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage relations between the two countries.”
You must be logged in to reply to this topic.