White House Warns China Against ‘Tit-for-Tat Retaliation’ with Chengdu Consulate Closure
PoliticsEva Fu

The White House on July 24 urged the Chinese regime to avoid engaging in “tit-for-tat retaliation,” hours after Beijing ordered the U.S. consulate in Chengdu to shut down in response to Washington’s closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston.

“Our action to direct the closure of PRC Consulate General in Houston was taken to protect American intellectual property and Americans’ private information,” said National Security Council spokesperson John Ullyot in an emailed statement, referring to the People’s Republic of China.

He said that Beijing has for years “undertaken a whole-of-society effort” stealing American intellectual property while restricting American diplomats in China from performing their duties.

“We urge the CCP to cease these malign actions rather than engage in tit-for-tat retaliation,” he said.

The United States on July 22 ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close, citing “the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people” as well as “unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior,” in a State Department statement.

China’s foreign ministry said the United States gave it three days to close the consulate.

Then, the ministry on Friday ordered the closure of the U.S. consulate in Chengdu, the capital of China’s southwestern Sichuan Province, calling the decision a “legitimate and necessary response” to Washington’s “unilateral provocation.”

The Chengdu branch is one of six U.S. diplomatic missions in mainland China, in addition to the one in Hong Kong.

“Some staff of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu have engaged in activities inconsistent with their capacities to interfere in China’s internal affairs and undermine China’s security interests. China has lodged representations on multiple occasions and the U.S. knows that very well,” said Wang Wenbin, a spokesperson for the ministry, at a Friday press conference.

China’s state broadcaster CCTV began live-streaming footage at the U.S. consulate on its mobile app soon after Beijing made the announcement, Chinese media reports noted.

CHINA-US-DIPLOMACY
Police walk in front of the entrance of US consulate in Chengdu, southwestern China’s Sichuan province, on July 24, 2020. (Noel Celis/AFP via Getty Images)

The hawkish state-run newspaper Global Times defended Beijing’s decision in a Friday editorial, accusing the U.S. administration of “dismantling the construction of China-U.S. relations almost with a bulldozer” and declaring that China will close the same number of U.S. consulates as a countermeasure if the United States decides to take further action.

It also ran an article on July 23 with the headline, “U.S. consulate in HK loathed as ‘spy center,’” claiming that online Chinese media polls show “the majority of Chinese believe the facility should be shut down.”

Asked during a Fox News interview whether the United States will withdraw consular staff if China closes its branches, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Thursday did not directly address the issue, but said the decision to close China’s Houston consulate was consistent with all U.S. policies and that more actions will be coming “until we get the change.”

“And so the Chinese Government will get to make its decisions about our diplomats there inside of China. We’ll make sure that we do right by the American people,” he said.

From The Epoch Times