U.S. lowers flag over Chinese consulate
American diplomats are to leave the US consulate in the south-western Chinese city of Chengdu, following Beijing’s decision to close the mission.
With just hours to go before a Monday morning deadline, we could see staff carrying box files and bags of rubbish.
Meanwhile, crowds of local residents have gathered outside, with many waving Chinese flags and taking selfies.
China acted in response to the US closing its consulate in Houston, Texas, last week.
After a 72-hour deadline for Chinese diplomats to leave the Houston mission expired on Friday,
reporters saw men who appeared to be US officials force open a door to enter the premises.
US Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo said Washington had decided to act because Beijing was “stealing” intellectual property.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin responded by saying that
the US move was based on “a hodgepodge of anti-Chinese lies“.
Tensions have been escalating between the two nuclear powers over several issues:
- US President Donald Trump’s administration has clashed repeatedly with Beijing over trade and the coronavirus pandemic
- Washington has also condemned the imposition by China of controversial recent security law in Hong Kong
- Last week, a Singaporean man pleaded guilty in a US court to working as an agent of China
- Also last week, four Chinese nations were charged in a separate case with US visa fraud for allegedly lying about serving in China’s military
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