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Iran Press TV

China orders US to close consulate in Chengdu city in tit-for-tat move

Iran Press TV

Friday, 24 July 2020 4:43 AM

China has ordered the closure of the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu, in retaliation for Washington's move to shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston earlier this week.

In a statement on Friday, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said Beijing had revoked the license for the US consulate in Chengdu, underlining that the reciprocal move was a "legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable measures by the United States."

The ministry added in the statement that Beijing had "made specific requirements on the ceasing of all operations and events by the Consulate General" in Chengdu's diplomatic mission.

"The current situation in China-US relations is not what China desires to see, and the US is responsible for all this," the Chinese Foreign Ministry said.

China warned of a reciprocal measure after the administration of US President Donald Trump had granted Beijing a 72-hour moratorium to vacate its consulate in the Texan city of Houston over spying allegations.

In a statement released on Thursday morning, the Chinese embassy in Washington accused the US of "groundless fabrications" about the actions of China's diplomatic missions and called on the Trump administration to "immediately revoke this erroneous decision."

The Chinese state media said the move by the US government to close China's consulate in Houston was an attempt to blame Beijing for American failures ahead of presidential elections in November.

The China Daily described the closure of the consulate as "a new gambit in the US administration's bid to paint China as a malevolent actor on the world stage, and thus make it an outlaw to the international community".

Pompeo taps into Cold War-era language

Riled by the rising power of China, the United States has over the past years been at loggerheads with Beijing over a range of issues, including trade, Hong Kong, Taiwan, the South China Sea, and the coronavirus pandemic.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo ramped up his anti-China rhetoric on Thursday and raised the alarm about the threat of what he claimed was a "new tyranny" from China.

Pompeo said the world countries will have to choose sides "between freedom and tyranny" in dealing with China, adding that, "If the free world doesn't change Communist China, Communist China will change us."

In a language that recalled the US Cold War with the Soviet Union, Pompeo accused Chinese President Xi Jinping of being a "true believer" in the "bankrupt" totalitarian Marxist-Leninist ideology.

"His ideology informs his decades-long desire for global hegemony built on Chinese Communism," Pompeo claimed.

The US secretary of state also urged Washington and its allies to use "more creative and assertive ways" to press the Chinese Communist Party to change its ways, calling it the "mission of our time."

The Chinese embassy in Washington announced on Thursday that it had received "bomb and death threats" as the 72-hour deadline was coming to an end.

The embassy blamed the threats on the US government's smear campaign against Beijing.

China has four other consulates in the United States – in San Francisco, Los Angeles, Chicago and New York – as well as an embassy in Washington.

Trump said in answer to a question at a news briefing on Wednesday it was "always possible" other Chinese missions could be closed too.

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