China seizes U.S. consulate in Chengdu, retaliating for Houston

  • Tuesday 28, July 2020 02:43 AM
  • China seizes U.S. consulate in Chengdu, retaliating for Houston
Sharjah 24 – Reuters: China took over the premises of the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Monday, after ordering the facility to be vacated in retaliation for China's ouster last week from its consulate in Houston, Texas.
The seizure capped a dramatic escalation in tensions between the world's two biggest economies that began when employees at China's Houston consulate were seen burning documents in a courtyard last Tuesday, hours before Beijing announced that it had been ordered to leave the facility.

The U.S. consulate in Chengdu, in Sichuan province, was closed as of 10 a.m (0200) on Monday, and Chinese authorities had entered the building from the front door, China's Ministry of Foreign Affairs said in a statement.

On Friday, Beijing announced that it had asked the United States to close its Chengdu post, and gave the Americans 72 hours to vacate, the same amount of time China was given to leave its Houston mission, which was shut on Friday.

At midday on Monday, police removed a roadblock that had restricted access to the Chengdu facility, and dozens of passersby stopped to take photos and videos.

U.S.-China relations have plunged to their worst in decades over a range of disputes, from trade and technology to the COVID-19 pandemic, China's territorial claims in the South China Sea and its clampdown on Hong Kong.

On Thursday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gave a speech calling a more assertive approach to China the "mission of our time".