Commentary: U.S. should undo brazen request to close Chinese consulate or prepare for countermeasures

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by Xinhua writer Gao Wencheng

BEIJING, July 22 (Xinhua) — Washington’s abrupt and unilateral demand on Beijing to close China’s Consulate General in Houston constitutes a brazen provocation, and an unprecedented escalation in its scheme to sabotage bilateral relations.

Condemning Washington’s move as “outrageous and unjustified,” Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin said Tuesday that the United States has seriously violated international law and the basic norms of international relations, as well as the bilateral consular agreement, deliberately undermining relations between the two countries.

It is not the first time that Washington has intentionally bullied China’s diplomatic missions in the United States. Well before this recent political provocation, the U.S. side, according to Wang, has imposed unwarranted restrictions on Chinese diplomats, even searching diplomatic bags without permission and seizing official articles.

In stark contrast, the Chinese side has always facilitated the normal operation of U.S. diplomatic missions in China according to the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations and the Vienna Convention on Consular Relations, key treaties forming the core of international diplomatic and consular law.

In fact, the demand to close the Consulate General in Houston is just the tip of the iceberg of the White House’s ever-expanding anti-China campaign.

Since assuming power, the current U.S. administration has turned increasingly hostile toward China. It has tried to contain China on a wide range of areas from trade to 5G technologies, and flagrantly interfered with the country’s internal affairs on issues related to Hong Kong, Taiwan, Xinjiang and the South China Sea.

Over recent months, Washington, in a desperate attempt to find scapegoats for its hellish pandemic response, has launched a shameful campaign to stigmatize China.

And during his just-concluded trip to Britain, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, one of the most notorious China critics, even called for an international “coalition” against China.

As those China hawks stage one episode of their anti-China farce after another, it seems that the only weapon left in Washington’s China policy arsenal is to get tougher, while elements of reason have been cast aside.

Today, the world is in the throes of two high-stake battles: the prolonged COVID-19 pandemic, and a deep global economic recession. A stable and sound relationship between the world’s top two economies is now more important than ever.

Unfortunately, thanks to Washington’s persistent anti-China sabotage, the China-U.S. relationship is now grappling with perhaps its most severe challenge since the establishment of diplomatic ties.

Beijing has always valued a robust relationship with Washington, but that does not mean China’s attempt to maintain this relationship is without principle or a bottom line.

For the moment, Washington must undo its decision to close China’s consulate, and prevent such provocations in the future. If the China-hardliners in Washington continue with their bullying tactics, they should prepare for legitimate and forceful countermeasures from Beijing, as it defends its national interests. Enditem

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