US Closes Chinese Consultate in Houston Amid Increased Tensions

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US-China relations have worsened significantly this year. Tensions had already been increasing in 2019. However, several troubling new patterns are making matters worse. One is Beijing’s move to usurp increased power over Hong Kong.

Even more important to President Trump has been China’s handling of COVID-19. The President blames China for the pandemic that has been especially devastating in the US.

In response, China has accused Trump of shifting blame away from his own failed policies regarding the virus.

In a further escalation of what some have called a new Cold War, the US has ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to close. It’s one of five Chinese diplomatic locations in the US including the embassy in Washington DC. It has not been made clear why the Houston consulate was chosen. Though, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo expanded the reasoning by saying the decision was made because China was “stealing” intellectual property from the west.

Another accusation, this time from the US Justice Department, accused China of sponsoring hackers who attacked COVID-19 vaccine labs in the US.

In response, Chinese diplomat Liu Xiaoming claimed that China was not America’s enemy. Instead, he insisted the virus was America’s true enemy and China was being falsely depicted as one. China’s foreign ministry spokeswoman took a tougher line. Hua Chunying, slammed the reasons for closing the consulate, characterizing the move as “unbelievably ridiculous.”

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