U.S. Closes Chinese “Spy Center”, “Death And Bomb Threats” Made Against China’s Embassy
In a significant escalation of tensions between the United States and China, the Trump administration ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston by Friday amid a surge in espionage cases.
The closure of the consulate was to “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said on Wednesday.
The Chinese government on Wednesday threatened retaliatory “countermeasures” with Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin calling the closure an “unprecedented escalation,” and promised to “react with firm countermeasures” if the move is not rescinded.
The ministry called the closure a “political provocation unilaterally launched by the U.S. side, which seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the U.S.”
It also accused the Trump administration of stigmatizing and “unwarranted attacks” against China’s social system, “harassing” Chinese diplomatic and consular staff, “intimidating and interrogating” Chinese students and “confiscating their personal electrical devices, even detaining them without cause.”
State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus, traveling with Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in Denmark, said the closure was ordered “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”
Bejing now claims that death and bomb threats were made against the Chinese embassy in Washington. Turn the page for details.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry Spokeswoman says that bomb and death threats were made against the Chinese Embassy and blames the Trump Administration after it ordered the Chinese Consulate in Houston to be closed no later than Friday.
US stocks have climbed off their session lows as Beijing has met speculation about the potential for retaliation by closing the American consulate in Wuhan with an ominous silence. But that silence has just been broken, and due to the fact that it’s the middle of the night in China, we suspect this statement was intended for US audiences.
Global Times editor Hu Xijin, one of Beijing’s top English-language mouthpieces, said in a tweet sent just minutes ago that the retaliation by closing the Wuhan consulate would be letting the US off easy. When the time comes, the true retaliation will involve “real pain” for the US.
That might help explain the panicked document-burning.
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Following a suspicious document fire that necessitated a visit from the local police yesterday, Washington has turned the tensions with Beijing up to ’11’ by ordering the immediate closure of the Chinese consulate.
Apparently, the incident occurred just as the US was ordering the abrupt closure of China’s consulate in Houston, citing a need to protect American intellectual property and data. The decision, which rattled global equity markets, has been decried as a dramatic escalation in bilateral tensions as Beijing condemned the order as an outrageous violation of international law. Spokespeople for the Chinese government also slammed the decision as outrageous and unprecedented.
Washington’s order, which according to WSJ was issued just yesterday, marks an “unprecedented escalation” and “a political provocation unilaterally launched by the US,” according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, who addressed the issue during his regular press briefing in Beijing.
“China urges the US to immediately rescind its erroneous decision, otherwise China will undertake legitimate and necessary responses.”
Reuters is now reporting that China is considering closing the US consulate in Wuhan in retaliation. Though we suspect those diplomats wouldn’t mind being stationed elsewhere.
Even Hu Xijin, the typically long-winded editor of the Global Times, could only manage a surprisingly brief “that’s crazy”.
State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus didn’t specify which specific actions, if any, inspired Washington’s decision, though she did say: “President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in U.S.-China relations.”
“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.”
Notably, the DoJ unveiled evidence of a massive hack of COVID-19-related research allegedly orchestrated by China
Image: Gage Skidmore