Consulate closure: Pompeo calls stand against Chinese government

(Update: adds Pompeo quotes)

Washington, Jul 22 (efe-epa).- The United States Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said Wednesday the Chinese government needs to be tackled after his department ordered the closure of China’s consulate in Houston, Texas.

“You can’t go make claims for maritime regions that you have no lawful claim to,” Pompeo said at a press conference after meeting in Copenhagen with his Danish counterpart Jeppe Kofod.

“You can’t threaten countries and bully them in the Himalayas.

“You can’t engage in cover-ups and co-opt international institutions like the World Health Organisation.”

He accused the Chinese Communist Party of stealing intellectual property from the US and other countries.

“President Trump has said ‘enough, we’re not going to allow this to continue to happen’,” he added.

“We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave,” Pompeo continued.

“And when they don’t, we’re going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our national security and also protect our economy and jobs.”

State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said earlier the closure was ordered to protect American intellectual property and the private information of its citizens.

The Vienna Convention says diplomats must “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State” and “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State,” she told US news broadcaster CNBC.

Beijing has strongly criticized the decision and threatened to retaliate if Washington does not reverse it.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said “the United States has called for the immediate cessation of all operations of the consulate from July 24,” which is “a violation of international norms and agreements. consular issues between the two countries, as well as an attempt to undermine bilateral relations”.

“We ask the US to retract this erroneous decision, or else China will take legitimate and necessary retaliation,” he added.

The US accused Chinese intelligence services of supporting cyber attacks by two hackers against companies from 11 countries to try to steal vaccine data for Covid-19 and military technology secrets.

“For a time, the United States has been trying to blame China through stigmatization and unwarranted attacks on the Chinese social system. They harass Chinese diplomats and staff who work at consulates; intimidate and interrogate Chinese students there, and they even confiscate their electronic devices. They even detain them without charging them,” Wang said.

US media have reported that documents were seen being burned outside the consulate.

It was the latest incident amid increasing tensions between the two countries which been embroiled in a trade war for months and have clashed over 5G networks, the coronavirus pandemic, a controversial security law in Hong Kong and human rights violations allegedly committed by the Chinese government. EFE-EPA


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