The United States said on Wednesday it had given China 72 hours to close China’s consulate in Houston “to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.” The decision marked an escalation of tensions between the world’s two biggest economies amid fresh accusations of Chinese espionage in the United States.
In response, Chinese state media said in editorials published on Thursday that the move was a “political provocation” and called on Washington to “immediately revoke” the decision. Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying wrote on Twitter that China would “surely react with firm countermeasures.” The official English-language newspaper China Daily described the move as “a new gambit in the U.S. administration’s bid to paint China as a malevolent actor on the world stage, and thus make it an outlaw to the international community.”
In a statement released on Thursday morning, the Chinese embassy in Washington accused the United States of “groundless fabrications” about the actions of China’s diplomatic missions and urged it to “immediately revoke this erroneous decision.” The embassy posted separately on its official Twitter account, “It’s time to step on the brakes and return to the right direction!”
Editorial credit: Jer123 / Shutterstock.com