Officials at the Chinese consulate in Houston have refused to shut down their operations after the US ordered its closure by Friday, according to a new report.
Cai Wei, the Chinese Consul General in Houston, said the office would remain open “until further notice” in a clear act of defiance as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate.
“Today we are still operating normally, so we will see what will happen tomorrow,” he told Politico on Thursday, accusing the US of breaching international conventions.
“We prepared for the worst scenario but we’ve also launched a strong protest … so we urge the US to abandon and revoke that wrong decision,” Cai said.
The State Department earlier this week directed the Chinese Communist Party to close the consulate over allegations diplomats there had been engaged in espionage and the theft of US scientific research.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the Houston consulate was “a hub of spying and intellectual property theft.”
China’s foreign ministry demanded proof and accused US officials of harassing Chinese diplomatic staff, however after the order was given, officials at the consulate began burning reams of documents on Wednesday night, Texas cops said.
On Tuesday, US prosecutors charged two Chinese nationals in a cyber espionage campaign in which they allegedly stole information on weapons designs, drug information, software source code and personal data.
It’s unclear what diplomatic crisis could emerge from China’s refusing to adhere to the eviction notice, but US officials could revoke visas for Cai and his staff and detain them, experts told Politico.
Beijing has ordered the shuttering of the US consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu in a retaliatory move which would hurt America’s strategic interest in nearby Tibet.
“The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the United States,” said a foreign ministry statement.
“The current situation in Chinese-U.S. relations is not what China desires to see. The United States is responsible for all this,” the ministry said. “We once again urge the United States to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track.”
Credit: Source link