China Ordered to Close Houston Consulate

US gives China 72 hours to close Houston consulate

Washington's order to Beijing to close its consulate in Houston, Texas amid accusations of spying had weighed on risk sentiment earlier in Asia, pulling shares lower.

U.S. President Donald Trump said that other consulate closures were "always possible".

Meanwhile, firefighters and police were called to the consulate building on Tuesday night after reports that documents were being burned in the courtyard. "When gathering Humint [human intelligence] they've got to have a place from which they can securely transmit information to China".

The State Department said it ordered the consulate closed within 72 hours as it alleges that Chinese agents have been seeking to steal U.S. data from facilities in Texas, including the Texas A&M medical system statewide and The University of Texas MD Anderson Cancer Center in Houston.

Beijing now operates five Consulates-General in the United States, including those in New York, Chicago, San Francisco and Los Angeles, as well as the Chinese Embassy in Washington, DC.

The US Department of State confirmed the closure decision.

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".

"China's efforts and achievements in the global fight against the epidemic are recognized by the world", Wang said, adding that as a responsible major country, China will firmly safeguard its sovereignty, security and development interests, reject bullying and injustice, insist on strengthening dialogue and cooperation with other countries, and promote the building of a community with a shared future for mankind.

These actions have come as Trump has sought to blame China for the coronavirus outbreak in the USA, where cases have soared, threatening his prospects for reelection. "Otherwise, China will definitely make a proper and necessary response".

Wang accused the United States of opening Chinese diplomatic pouches without permission multiple times, confiscating Chinese items for official use and imposing restrictions on Chinese diplomats in the US last October and again in June. It was not immediately clear why China's Houston consulate had been singled out.

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The Houston move comes in the run-up to the November U.S. presidential election, in which Trump and his Democratic rival, Joe Biden, have both tried to look tough towards China. But investigators found photos of her in a Chinese military uniform and discovered she had worked as a researcher at China's Air Force Military Medical University.

"The market is still trying to ascertain whether this increase in geopolitical tension is going to be enough to derail the positive vibes we've been seeing", said Rodrigo Catril, senior FX strategist at National Australia Bank in Sydney.

The U.S. has ordered China to shut its consulate in Houston within three days, a move that Washington said defends America but which Beijing denounced as an "unprecedented escalation" of tensions.

The United States, in a brief statement, did not provide any details on why the consulate in Texas was targeted.

When asked about that accusation, a current USA intelligence official agreed and told CNN that "of course it was" used to spy.

The spokesperson said that a few politicians in the United States spread rumors and even claimed to have "a large amount of evidence" to support their so-called "truth", showing they have no morals at all. That official declined to comment on why the decision was now made to close the Houston consulate. It noted that the Houston consulate was China's first in the US when it opened in 1979.

US -based China experts said Beijing could also opt to target more important consulates in Hong Kong, Shanghai or Guangzhou, something that could hurt American businesses.

The former officials were puzzled. "Officers were not granted access to enter the building", the Houston Police tweeted.

The New York Times quoted the top USA diplomat for East Asia, David Stilwell, as saying that the Houston consulate had been at the "epicenter" of the Chinese army's efforts to advance its warfare advantages by sending students to US universities. Russell. "It is inconceivable that closing a consulate will stop espionage".

Pompeo is expected to continue the attacks Thursday in a speech on U.S.

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