US orders China consulate in Houston to close after coronavirus vaccine hacking charges

The United States said on Wednesday it had ordered the closure of China’s consulate in Houston, spokesperson for the State Department Morgan Ortagus said.

“We have directed the closure of PRC Consulate General Houston, in order to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information,” Ortagus said in an emailed statement.

Earlier on Wednesday, China said the closure was “an unprecedented escalation” and said it would retaliate if the US did not revoke the decision.

“The unilateral closure of China’s consulate general in Houston within a short period of time is an unprecedented escalation of its recent actions against China,” said Foreign ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin at a daily news briefing.

That came as unidentified individuals were seen burning paper in the consulate’s courtyard, where Houston’s fire department attended the scene.

An source told Reuters on Wednesday that China would now consider ordering the closure of the US consulate in Wuhan.

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