Washington asks Beijing to close its consulate in Houston … and China threatens to retaliate

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The US State Department asked China to close the Chinese consulate in Houston within 72 hours.

For its part, Beijing condemned Washington’s request to close its consulate in Houston and threatened to respond if it did not retract.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a daily press briefing that Washington informed his country on Tuesday that it should close the consulate.

He added that work is continuing normally at the consulate, after reports in local media in Houston on Tuesday evening that documents were being burned in the consulate’s courtyard.

On Tuesday, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo called on the world to stand up to China after holding consultations in London with British Prime Minister Boris Johnson, whose relationship with China has been strained after criticizing its actions in Hong Kong and excluding the Chinese telecom giant Huawei from the country’s fifth generation networks.

“We believe that the entire world must cooperate to ensure that all countries, including China (…), act in harmony with the international system,” Pompeo declared at a press conference with his British counterpart, Dominic Rap.

Speaking highly of “frank” talks with British officials, Pompeo called on “all countries committed to freedom and democracy (…) to understand the danger posed by the Communist Party of China.”

London is close to Washington’s positions in recent months, until it changed its position completely from Huawei and excluded it from developing its fifth-generation networks.

The US Secretary of State denied that Washington had forced its ally Britain to change its position on this file.

“This decision was taken, not because the United States said it was a good decision, but because officials here in the United Kingdom concluded that it was the right decision for the benefit of the British people,” Pompeo said.

London confirmed that it excluded Huawei from developing the 5G network for security reasons, after imposing US sanctions in May on this group, to prevent it from acquiring semiconductors manufactured with American components.

China responded by saying that London had been “deceived” by the Americans.

Pompeo had previously considered that “the information that passes through these Chinese networks will inevitably end up in the hands of the Chinese Communist Party.”

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