Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Friday the diplomats of the U.S. consulate general in Chengdu interfered in China’s internal affairs and engaged in activities that were not in line with their diplomatic identities.
Wang urged the U.S. to withdraw its decision to close China’s consulate general in Houston and make efforts to bring bilateral ties back on track, adding that the Chinese side has lodged representations with the U.S. many times.
China has ordered the U.S. to close its consulate general in southwest China’s Chengdu City in response to U.S. directive for China to shut its consulate general in Houston, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said in a statement on Friday.
Image shows the US embassy in Beijing and Consulate offices in other parts of China
The Chinese Foreign Ministry said that the decision was a justifiable and necessary response to the unreasonable act of the U.S. on July 21 of abruptly asking China to close its consulate general in Houston by Friday.
The U.S. consulate general in Chengdu was established in 1985, and it covers the southwestern part of China, which includes Sichuan Province, Tibet Autonomous Region and Chongqing Municipality.
Following China’s decision of countermeasure, experts have said that the core principle behind the decision is seeking equality in diplomatic exchanges while China is also avoiding sending out a strong message of a divided China-U.S. relation.
Shen Yi, an expert on U.S.-related issues at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times that the move sent a clear signal to the U.S. that China does not intend to damage the Sino-U.S. relations, but it will surely fight back this kind of abrupt move.
If China does nothing in the beginning, it runs the risk of gradually being trapped into a situation of having to making compromises for each move made by the U.S., Shen said.
Meanwhile, Li Haidong, a professor with the Institute of International Relations Studies under China Foreign Affairs University, told the news outlet that China is also dealing with the issue in a restrained way that tries to prevent a sudden escalation of China-U.S. tensions.
He said that among all the U.S. embassy and consulates general in China, the Chengdu consulate general covers relatively smaller scale of regions and thus it would only affect a limited number of U.S. citizens and enterprises.