China's Houston consulate closed to 'protect American intellectual property': US

WION Web Team Washington, DC, United States of America Jul 22, 2020, 03.23 PM(IST)

China's consulate in Houston Photograph:( AFP )

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Earlier in the day, Beijing said the United States had ordered China to close its Houston consulate, terming it a "political provocation" that would further harm diplomatic relations.

The US State Department has said the recent closing of China's consulate in Houston was to ordered to protect Americans' intellectual property and private information.

Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said that under the Vienna Convention states "have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs" of the receiving country.

Earlier in the day, Beijing said the United States had ordered China to close its Houston consulate, terming it a "political provocation" that would further harm diplomatic relations.

The Chinese Consulate in Houston, opened in 1979, covers eight southern US states -- including Texas and Florida -- and has nearly one million people in the area registered at the consulate.

Also read | China says US ordered closure of Houston consulate

Furthermore, Ortagus said the US would not tolerate Chinese violations of their "sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC's unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior."

"We have directed the closure of PRC Consulate General Houston, in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information," she said, without giving any more details.

The move comes as tensions soar between the world's two biggest economies on a number of fronts. 

US President Donald Trump's administration has ramped up pressure on China on a wide range of issues, imposing sanctions on Chinese officials over policies in Tibet and Xinjiang.

(with inputs from agencies)