China on Friday ordered the United States to shutter its consulate in Chengdu following the closure of the country’s diplomatic post in Houston.
The announcement from China’s Foreign Affairs Ministry is the latest move amid rising diplomatic tension between the two superpowers that has become increasingly strained.
On Wednesday, the State Department ordered China’s consulate in Houston to be closed — a decision the Chinese called an “outrageous and unjustified” provocation.
The State Department said it took action to “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”
This week federal U.S. officials have announced charges against two Chinese researchers that they say lied about their ties to the Chinese military and Communist Party when seeking a visa to come to the U.S.
The FBI believes a woman working at the University of California, Davis, is evading arrest by staying at China’s consulate in San Francisco. Earlier in the week, federal officials announced similar charges against Song Chen, a Stanford University researcher also accused of lying about his ties to the Chinese military.
On Tuesday, the Justice Department announced an indictment charging two Chinese nationals — both in China — with hacking governments, dissidents, human rights activists and private companies, including those engaged in COVID-19 vaccine research.
China currently has its embassy in Washington and — in addition to Houston — consulates in New York, L.A., San Francisco and Chicago. The U.S. has its embassy in Beijing and has consulates in the Chinese cities of Shanghai, Guangzhou, Chengdu, Wuhan and Shenyang. It also has a consulate in the territory of Hong Kong.
The move was just the latest incident in a relationship between the two superpowers that has become increasingly strained.