U.S. Shuts Down China’s Consulate In Houston

China said on Wednesday that the United States had abruptly told it to close its consulate in the city of Houston in Texas.

Beijing has strongly condemned the order and threatened retaliation.

Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin told a regular daily news briefing that China was notified on Tuesday that it must close the consulate.

The consulate was given 72 hours to shut down, he said.

He said the consulate was operating normally on Tuesday, despite local media reports in Houston that documents were being burned in a courtyard at the consulate.

The Houston consulate closure is another blow to the rapidly deteriorating relations between China and the United States.

According to New York Times, the closure in Houston was the latest effort by the Trump administration to tighten the reins on Chinese diplomats, journalists, scholars and others in the United States.

Restrictions have included Cold-War-like travel rules for diplomats and requiring several Chinese state news organizations to register as diplomatic entities.

The administration is also considering a ban on travel to the United States by members of the Communist Party and their families, a move that would affect 270 million people.

Wang Wenbin, a spokesman for China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs, urged the United States to reverse the decision immediately.

“Otherwise China will certainly make legitimate and necessary reactions,” he said, suggesting that China could, at a minimum, close one of the American consulates in China.

Mr. Wang called the move unprecedented and illegal under international law, and described it as the latest in a series of aggressions.

In addition to its embassy in Washington, China operates consulates in four other cities: New York, Chicago, Los Angeles and San Francisco, the NYT reported.