China reacts, orders closure of US Consulate
The US' move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-US Consular Convention
Beijing: The Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday ordered the closure of the US Consulate General in the south-western city of Chengdu as a retaliatory move against Washington's decision to close the Asian giant's mission in Houston.
In a statement, the Ministry also made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General, which was established in 1985 and currently has more than 200 staff, Xinhua news agency reported.
"The US' move seriously breached international law, the basic norms of international relations, and the terms of the China-US Consular Convention. It gravely harmed China-US relations," the statement said.
It justified China's decision as "a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the US".
"The current situation in China-US relations is not what China desires to see, and the US is responsible for all this.
"We once again urge the US to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track," the statement added.
China gave the US till July 27 to close the consulate, according to the state-run Global Times newspaper.
On Tuesday, US President Donald Trump's administration on Tuesday ordered the closure of China's mission in Houston, saying it was involved in stealing intellectual property, the BBC reported. The administration gave China 72 hours to close the consulate "to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information".
The consulate is one of five in the US, not counting the embassy in Washington.
China's move on Friday came hours after US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo hardened his tone further in a speech on Thursday at the library of former President Richard Nixon, whose 1972 Beijing visit heralded a period of improved relations.
"Today, China is increasingly authoritarian at home, and more aggressive in its hostility to freedom everywhere else," Pompeo said.
"The free world must triumph over this new tyranny."