…United States accuses Beijing of stealing its intellectual property
The fast declining relations between the United States and China deepen as the White House on Tuesday has ordered China to close its diplomatic consulate in Houston within 72 hours, an hostile development Beijing described illegal and vowed to retaliate.
The State Department said the closure was in response to frequent Chinese violations of American autonomy, including “massive illegal spying and influence operations.”
It was a decision considered strange and severe, thereby brewing tensions as Donald Trump administration is tactically tighten its reins on Chinese diplomats, journalists, scholars and others in the United States.
According to the State Department spokeswoman, Morgan Ortagus, who spoke after the order to close the consulate was given, the resolution has proven that the United States would not stand China’s “egregious behavior.”
“The People’s Republic of China has engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations throughout the United States against U.S. government officials and American citizens,” Ms. Ortagus said.
She affirmed that the move would, “protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information.”
Although she did not expatiate, but accused China of repeatedly making efforts to spy on American commercial and military secrets, but China rejected the allegations.
The Justice Department said on Tuesday that an accusation had been established against two Chinese hackers whom officials have suspected trying to steal information about coronavirus vaccine research.
Meanwhile, the spokesman for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Wang Wenbin had advised the United States to reverse the decision immediately. He said in his remarks that, “otherwise China will certainly make legitimate and necessary reactions.” The statement in a way translates to at least that China would close a U.S. Consulate in China.
The decision generated more tensions as smoke was seen wafting from the Chinese consulate courtyard after hours the Trump administration had ordered its closure on Tuesday in what seemed to be documents being burned, but police and fire services in their responsive actions are barred from entering the facility, which the Chinese have sovereignty.