US asks China to close its Consulate in Houston in 72 hours

In an unprecedented move which further strains bilateral ties between President Donald Trump and Xi Jingping, US has ordered closure of Chinese Consulate General in Houston.

The move comes within hours of reports of the Chinese burning documents within the Consulate General premises. US has asked China to close its Consulate in Houston in 72 hours.

Calling it a political provocation unilaterally launched by the United States, China reacted angrily at US’s move. Chinese Foreign Ministry in a statement said, “China strongly condemns the US for asking China to close its Consulate General in Houston, Texas, urging it to recall its wrong decision or there will be countermeasures.”

Hu Xijin, Editor-in-chief of China’s state-run Global Times in a tweet said: “The US asked China to close Consulate General in Houston in 72 hours. This is a crazy move.”

Earlier in the day, US media had reported that Police and fire officials in Houston responded to reports that documents were being burned in courtyard of Consulate General of China in Houston.

Relations between US and China have worsened in recent times over a range of issues.
China’s move to impose national security law in Hong Kong, its human rights violation in Xinjiang and territorial aggression in South China Sea have all drawn fierce criticism from Washington.

Accusing China of bullying smaller countries, US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper on Tuesday vowed to deter against China’s “coercive behaviour” in South China Sea.

(With ANI inputs)

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