China has ordered the closure of the US consulate in the south-western city of Chengdu, the latest in a tit-for-tat escalation between the two countries.
China said the move was a “necessary response” to the US, which ordered China to close its consulate in Houston earlier this week. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US decision was taken because China was “stealing” intellectual property.
Tensions have been rising between the US and China over several key issues.
President Donald Trump’s administration has clashed repeatedly with Beijing over trade and the coronavirus pandemic, as well as China’s imposition of a controversial new security law in Hong Kong.
China’s foreign ministry said the closure was a “legitimate and necessary response to the unreasonable actions taken by the United States”. “The current situation between China and the United States is something China does not want to see, and the US bears all responsibility for that.”
The US consulate in Chengdu, which was established in 1985 and currently has more than 200 staff, is strategically important because of its proximity to the autonomous region of Tibet, correspondents say.