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China orders US consulate in Chengdu to close in tit-for-tat diplomacy

China orders US consulate in Chengdu to close in tit-for-tat diplomacy

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Hong Kong, July 24 (ANI): Beijing has ordered the United States to close its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu in retaliation for Washington's earlier demand that the Chinese diplomatic outpost in Houston shut down amid accusations of espionage.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry announced the order on Friday, after earlier speculation that its retaliation would centre on the Chengdu office, as reported by South China Morning Post.
"The measure taken by China is a legitimate and necessary response to the unjustified act by the US. It conforms with international law, the basic norms of international relations, and customary diplomatic practices," the Ministry said in a statement.
"The current situation in China-US relations is not what China desires to see, and the US is responsible for all this. We once again urge the US to immediately retract its wrong decision and create necessary conditions for bringing the bilateral relationship back on track," the statement read.
The closure of the Chengdu consulate should be completed by Monday, 72 hours after the order was made - the same time frame given by the US for the shutdown of the Chinese Houston office.
China's state broadcaster CCTV is live streaming from outside the Chengdu consulate, with 17 million viewers watching the broadcast on Weibo, the Chinese social media site.
At midday on Friday, dozens of police officers were clearing a perimeter of about 500 metres from the entrance of the US consulate in Chengdu, preventing traffic from passing the building, which sits on the main road, as well as blocking access to surrounding side streets.
Beijing's top diplomat in Houston earlier suggested the order from the US government to shut down by Friday may be ignored. In an interview with Politico on Thursday, the Chinese consul general Cai Wei said his office would remain open "until further notice". (ANI)

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