China's Consulate in Houston: The next provocation

Over the Chinese Consulate General in Houston rose in the night to Wednesday clouds of smoke. The fire Department rushed in, gained but no access to the site. A

China's Consulate in Houston: The next provocation

Over the Chinese Consulate General in Houston rose in the night to Wednesday clouds of smoke. The fire Department rushed in, gained but no access to the site. Aerial footage by a local TV station made it quickly clear why: In the yard of the Consulate were apparently burned in the great style of documents. On the pictures several large tons are to be seen, in which it burneth as a flaming fire.

Friederike Böge

Political correspondent for East Asia.

F. A. Z. Twitter

Majid Sattar

Political correspondent for North America, based in Washington.

F. A. Z. Twitter

a Little later, an explanation for the nocturnal alleged acts of combustion: The informed the Ministry of foreign Affairs in Beijing, the American government had asked the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, out of the blue, his work from Friday to completely set came from China. According to American sources, the diplomats will have to leave and staff of the Consulate of the site, as well as a nearby residential area in Houston until then. In Beijing it was said that Washington gave them only 72 hours of time.

China spoke on Wednesday of an "unprecedented escalation" and threatened to take "resolute counter-measures", should not America take the step back. First of all, however, remained open, as Beijing might look like retaliation. The news Agency Reuters quoted an unnamed mentioned source with the statement that China was considering, to obtain in return a closure of the American Consulate General in Wuhan. The Consulate was closed since the Corona outbreak in Wuhan, and it should begin today, Wednesday, its back to work. Due to the disagreement over testing and quarantine regulations for the staff this has not happened, however.

The spokeswoman of Minister of foreign Affairs Mike Pompeo justified the closure of the Consulate in Houston with the protection of American intellectual property and private information of American citizens. "The United States will not tolerate the violations of the people's Republic of China violate our sovereignty and the intimidation of our citizens," said Morgan Ortagus. What is the role of the Consulate in Houston played, she said. Ortagus, added: "President Trump insists on Fairness and reciprocity in the American-Chinese relations."

Washington increased the pressure

The Consulate's closure is a further step on the escalation spiral, which has turned last faster. In just the past few days, Washington has increased the pressure on Beijing on several fronts: After China, Hong Kong had imposed a "security law," deprived America of the Chinese special administrative region with all the privileges. China's territorial claims in the South China sea, referred to Washington as "completely illegal" and reinforced his support for the claims of other riparian States. Both China and America have increased their military presence in the area in the past few days, noticeably.

to foment A spokesman for the Chinese foreign Ministry accused Washington on Wednesday, "the hatred against China". This was the last in bombs and death threats against Chinese diplomats knocked down. With a view to the Consulate closure of the spokesman Wang Wenbin spoke of a "political provocation" and a breach of the Vienna Convention on diplomatic relations. Against the latter, Beijing has failed from the point of view of Western diplomats in recent times, however, even multiple times.

Updated Date: 22 July 2020, 14:19

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