The United States (US) on Wednesday (22 July) asked China to shut its commerce consulate in Houston, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has said, as reported by Hindustan Times.
The Chinese government called the move an "unprecedented escalation" as it claimed that the US government has given a 72 hours ultimatum to shut the consulate.
While alleging that it was an unilateral decision by the US, the Chinese government said it would "react with firm countermeasures" if the "erroneous decision" was not taken back.
The Foreign Ministry, in a statement, also alleged that its diplomatic staff and several Chinese students were also harassed and threatened and their personal electrical devices were also confiscated. It also accused that several of them were also detained for no reason.
It said, "China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-U.S. relations."
"We urge the U.S. to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision. Otherwise China will make legitimate and necessary reactions," the Chinese Foreign Ministry added.
While it is not yet clear what motivated the sudden decision by the Trump administration, it has come only a day after the Tuesday events at the consulate in Houston.
As per the New York Post, Houston police had received reports that Chinese officials were burning documents at the Consulate on Tuesday evening. A news reporter's video showed several people surrounding multiple trash cans with documents on fire, in the consulate's courtyard.
Houston firefighters and police, the New York Post said, responded to the fire at the Consulate General Office but did not have the authority to access the building.
The relationship between the US and China has been on a downward spiral ever since the Trump administration renegotiated new terms for bilateral trade with the Xi Jinping government.
(With inputs from IANS)
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