Amid continuing tensions with China, the United States has closed the consulate in Houston Texas , citing to “protect American intellectual property and private information,” According to State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.
China in turn said it would retaliate, calling the order a “unprecedented escalation” continuing to ignite an already tense situation that has been building since Trump took office. The retaliation could likely come in the form of closing down a American consulate in China. China has already been angered by Americans leaving the Wuhan consulate after the outbreak of COVID 19. The State Department did not have any elaborations on the alleged violations, but they suggested that China had violated the Vienna Convention, which states that diplomats respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State and not interfere in the internal affairs of that State.
After the staff of the consulate had been told they must vacate the building, several eyewitnesses saw employees at the courtyard of the consulate burning documents on in trash cans. Locals called Fire and rescue to report the incident, and they showed up to the scene, but did not enter the grounds. It is unclear yet as to what the evidence is of any theft, however burning of papers certainly makes veracity lie in question.
Among other investigations, the Houston Consulate was a target as the Counsel General there was recently caught engaging in questionable activity past the security checkpoint at George Bush International Airport. He had Chinese guests with him, with false birth dates. The Chinese government had set up the flight due to the pandemic.
There are currently six embassies in China, and one already vacated, that of Wuhan. We will see if China does indeed strike back and close one of the embassies in rebuttal.