China threatens retaliation after US orders closure of Houston consulate

China vows retaliation as Trump slaps sanctions on officials, companies interfering with Hong Kong’s autonomy

Michael Pillsbury, director of the Center on Chinese Strategy at The Hudson Institute, breaks down the latest in the souring relationship between Washington and Beijing.

China on Wednesday condemned what it called an “unprecedented escalation" by the United States and threatened to retaliate after it was ordered to close the Chinese consulate in Houston.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said in a daily news briefing that the government had been told without warning Tuesday to close the consulate.

He said the consulate had been operating normally Tuesday and called the alleged move an “unprecedented escalation," the South China Morning Post reported.

“China demands the US revoke the wrong decision. If the US went ahead, China would take necessary countermeasures,” Wang said.

In a statement sent to Fox News, State Department Spokesperson Morgan Ortagus confirmed the directive and said it was issued "to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information.”

The U.S. "will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our 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," he added. "President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in U.S.-China relations."

Documents were burned inside the consulate’s courtyard Tuesday evening, KPRC-TV in Houston reported.

"You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness told the station. “But, all the firefighters were just surrounding the building. They couldn’t go inside.”

"The US asked China to close Consulate General in Houston in 72 hours. This is a crazy move," Hu Xijin, Editor-in-Chief of the Global Times wrote on Twitter.

Beijing called the alleged eviction a violation of international law, according to Reuters.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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