China: U.S. Houston Consulate-General allegation 'malicious slandering'

Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Wednesday

Spokesperson Wang Wenbin made the remarks at a daily press briefing when asked for comments about the so-called latest evidence of the origin of the virus as recently revealed by an internal cable of the U.S. State Department.

The move against the consulate in the Texas city became known Tuesday, hours after the U.S. Department of Justice announced a new indictment of two Chinese nationals over alleged cyberespionage against defense contractors, coronavirus researchers and other targets.

The U.S. gave Chinese officials at the consulate 72 hours to move out before being evicted. Sen.

The US Department of State confirmed the closure decision.

The Chinese Consulate in Houston was opened in 1979, the first in the year the U.S. and the People's Republic of China established diplomatic relations.

The Trump administration began increasing tariffs on imports from China, its largest trading partner, in 2018 as part of an ambitious plan to force Beijing to curb subsidies on state manufacturing and tough demands on USA companies in China. He warned of firm countermeasures if the USA does not reverse its decision. He said the U.S. will continue discussions on the matter with Beijing.

Chinese tech firm Huawei was added to the US Commerce Department's "entity list" previous year due to national security concerns, amid accusations from Washington that it violated US sanctions on Iran and can spy on customers, allegations Huawei has denied. China's foreign ministry said in a statement it would "react with firm countermeasures" to the eviction.

"President Trump has said: 'Enough".

Earlier this week, the US government imposed sanctions on 11 Chinese companies - in addition to four Chinese officials already under sanctions - for involvement in human rights abuses against the Muslim-minority Uighurs in China's northwestern Xinjiang region.

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Regarding the same, State Secretary Mike Pompeo said, "It's not just American intellectual property been stolen, it's been European intellectual property too, causing hundreds - costing hundreds of thousands of jobs, good jobs for hard-working people all across Europe and America stolen by the Chinese Communist Party".

He said the U.S. had interfered with China's diplomatic missions, including intercepting diplomatic pouches and confiscating Chinese items for "official use".

He said China has reduced trade with North Korea and made efforts to urge Pyongyang to engage with the United States on a "diplomatic process to bring peace and prosperity to all who live on the Korean Peninsula".

He said the U.S. would "take actions" to protect its interests.

They couldn't enter the building as China has sovereignty over it.

In accordance with the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, China has facilitated the performance of duties of United States diplomatic agencies and personnel in China, he said.

Ties between the United States and China have worsened dramatically this year over a range of issues, including the coronavirus pandemic, issues to do with telecommunications company Huawei, China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its imposition of a national security law on Hong Kong.

He said the consulate was the epicenter of research theft in the United States. It was not immediately clear what other measures China may consider.

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