Chinese authorities were seen taking control of the US consulate in the city of Chengdu on Monday after China retaliated with an order to shut down the US consulate as a counter-attack, multiple media reports.
China’s order to close the US consulate in the city of Chengdu came shortly after the US ordered the Chinese consulate in Houston to shut down citing security and interference in American intellectual properties as the reason behind the order.
Two of the global superpowers closing bilaterally important cosulates on each side marks a significant escalation in the worsening relationship between the two countries.
The US-China relationship, in the last few months, has deteriorated following trade war, criticism against the outbreak of the novel coronavirus, South China Sea territorial claim, and recently, China’s passing of the controversial Hong Kong bill forfeiting the autonomous region’s basic freedoms.
The closure of the US consulate in China was filmed in an emotional farewell video shared by the US embassy in China’s Twitter account, Reuters reports.
“The U.S. consulate in Chengdu has been proudly promoting the mutual understanding between Americans and the people in Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan and Tibet since 1985,” the caption read, adding: “We will forever miss you.”
A US State Department spokesperson said: “We are disappointed by the Chinese Communist Party’s decision and will strive to continue our outreach to the people in this important region through our other posts in China.”
China’s state broadcaster CCTV in a Twitter-like Chinese social media Weibo that the US flag was lowered in the consulate in the early morning.
(Cover image courtesy of China XinHua News via Twitter)