U.S. Orders China to Close Consulate in Houston

U.S. Orders China to Close Consulate in Houston

"It is these factors which led the President to direct a number of actions in response, including yesterday's notification to the PRC that we have withdrawn our consent for the PRC to operate its consulate in Houston, Texas", Mr. Biegun said. China claims the US has purchased it to shut its consulate in Houston in what it identified as a provocation that violates global regulation.

The Chinese consulate in Houston, which Donald Trump forced to close on Wednesday, was a hot bed of spies, according to reports.

The issue comes at the same time Washington has ordered the closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, Texas - a decision US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said was taken because China was "stealing American and European intellectual property".

Relations between the USA and China have nose-dived in recent months over the coronavirus pandemic and disputes over trade, human rights, Hong Kong and Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin, speaking at a daily media briefing, said China would safeguard its citizens.

The move was a dramatic escalation of the growing tensions between the world's two largest economies as President Donald Trump directs blame and punitive measures at China ahead of the US presidential election in November.

The two men, who are believed to be in China, acted in some instances "for their own personal gain" and in others for the benefit of China's Ministry of State Security, Assistant Attorney General John Demers said at a news conference.

"The move shows that lagging behind his presidential election opponent in the polls. the USA leader is going all out in his attempts to portray China as an agent of evil", it said.

Wang said the USA government had been harassing Chinese diplomats and consular staff for some time and intimidating Chinese students.

The FBI said the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco had been harboring a Chinese researcher charged with visa fraud for hiding her relationship with the Chinese military for a month, according to the court filings released on Monday. "China has been doing this nearly openly, so we need to take measures that are effective". He did not specify whether the actions were related to the Houston consulate.

Analysts in the USA have pointed to the Chinese Consulate in San Francisco as a more crucial hub for intelligence gathering than Houston, and possibly the Trump administration's next target.

Beijing has responded by banning several USA lawmakers, including Sens. The number of insulting mails received by the embassy also surged recently, said the source, adding the Chinese embassy and consulates in the USA have reinforced its security measures accordingly.

U.S. prosecutors say Juan Tang, who worked at the University of California, Davis, falsely claimed on her visa application that she had not served in the Chinese military.

Senator Angus King, a ME independent who meets with Democrats, told CNN's John Berman on the "New Day" on Wednesday that he was unaware of any "recent intelligence on particular Chinese activities, nor regarding our elections, or the entire confrontation between our two countries: theft of intellectual property "that may have prompted the decision".

On Tuesday, the US Department of Justice had accused China of sponsoring hackers who had been targeting labs developing COVID-19 vaccines.

The office covers eight southern USA states - including Texas and Florida - and has almost one million people in the area registered there.

Prosecutors say Tang was working in the United States on a J-1 visa but was charged for a violation.

The U.S. has withdrawn Hong Kong's special trade status and imposed visa restrictions on several Chinese Communist Party officials, which the Chinese government calls "interference in domestic affairs".

As other nations set out to devalue their currencies, namely the euro and yuan, at which can be done at a far greater pace than the USA can devalue the U.S. dollar, the United States spiked and maintained a bid, much to the displeasure of the USA administration at the time. It says the consulate, first opened in 1979, has been important in building trade, investment and cultural ties between the two countries.

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