Chinese Foreign Ministry on Friday informed the U.S. Embassy in China of its decision to withdraw its consent for the establishment and operation of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu.
China’s measure is a “legitimate and necessary response” to unjustified act by the United States, said a statement issued by the ministry.
On July 21, the United States launched a unilateral provocation by abruptly demanding that China close its Consulate General in Houston, representing “unprecedented escalation in its recent actions against China,” according to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Wednesday.
Noting the United States is “responsible for all this,” China in the Friday statement once again urged Washington to immediately revoke its wrong decision and create necessary conditions to bring the bilateral relationship back to normal.
LEGITIMATE RESPONSE TO UNJUSTIFIED U.S. MOVE
The U.S. demand of closure of China’s Consulate General in Houston seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the United States, according to the Chinese Foreign Ministry.
“If the United States imposes certain restrictions on us, we will also take certain restrictive measures in the diplomatic field under the same conditions. It is in line with the provisions of international law and is a legitimate and reasonable diplomatic practice,” Gao Fei, a professor at China Foreign Affairs University, told Xinhua in an interview.
Gao stressed that “China does not intend to have such conflicts and is compelled to react.”
The U.S. decision to abruptly order the closure of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, like previous U.S. pressure tactics against many other countries, “directly contradicts the values that Washington has been preaching around the world for many years,” Russian Foreign Ministry spokesperson Maria Zakharova said Thursday.
In fact, Chinese diplomatic missions in the United States, including its consulate general in Houston, have been promoting bilateral friendship and cooperation and observing international law and local laws of the United States.
According to the Chinese Foreign Ministry, the United States has imposed restrictions on Chinese diplomatic personnel in the United States twice without cause, in October last year and June this year. It opened Chinese diplomatic pouches several times without permission, and seized Chinese items meant for official use.
As the United States flagrantly stigmatizes China and fans hatred against it, Chinese Embassy in the United States recently even received bomb threats against Chinese diplomatic missions and death threats against personnel in the United States. Moreover, the U.S. Embassy in China constantly publishes articles maligning China on its website.
“If we compare the two, it is only too evident which one is engaged in interference, infiltration and confrontation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Wang Wenbin on Wednesday.
“Some personnel of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu engaged in activities incompatible with their status, interfered in China’s internal affairs and harmed China’s security interests. China has lodged representations many times, and the United States knows it too well,” Wang said at a daily press briefing Friday.
SITUATION NOT WHAT CHINA DESIRES TO SEE
In the statement on Friday, China stressed that “the current situation in China-U.S. relations is not what China desires to see.”
“China’s U.S. policy remains unchanged. We are still willing to develop China-U.S. relations with goodwill and sincerity,” said Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi earlier in July in a speech to a China-U.S. Think Tanks Media Forum.
According to the foreign minister, China never intends to challenge or replace the United States, or have a full confrontation with it. China stands ready to develop a bilateral relationship featuring no conflict and confrontation, mutual respect and win-win cooperation based on coordination, cooperation and stability.
Scholars hold that China and the United States have jointly accomplished many great things to the benefit of not only the two countries but also the world. It is important that both sides have a correct view of the historical experience of China-U.S. relations.
“In fact, some anti-China forces are trying to hijack the relations and reverse the wheel of history,” said Ruan Zongze, executive vice president of the China Institute of International Studies.
“Such U.S. actions cannot stop the historical trend and the cooperation between Chinese and American people, nor can they scupper the will of the international community to see a peacefully developing bilateral relationship,” said Ruan.
U.S. URGED TO BRING TIES BACK TO NORMAL
For some time, the U.S. government has been shifting the blame to China with slander and unwarranted attacks on China’s social system, harassing Chinese diplomatic and consular staff in the United States, intimidating and interrogating Chinese students and seizing their personal electronic devices, even detaining them without cause.
Observers say that China-U.S. relations are at a crossroads and faced with the most severe challenge since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1979.
Shen Yamei, deputy director of the Department for American Studies of the China Institute of International Studies, said the current U.S. administration should stop being short-sighted, follow the trend of the times, respond to changes, and create more opportunities for progress.
“We still need to have confidence in China-U.S. relations in the future,” said Ruan, calling some U.S. politicians’ wrongdoings “a short-term phenomenon.”
Recently, 191 agricultural organizations sent a joint letter to U.S. President Donald Trump, calling for continued implementation of the phase one trade agreement. Many U.S. universities have openly expressed support for closer China-U.S. educational exchanges.
Moreover, despite the impact of COVID-19, 74 percent of U.S. businesses in China said they plan to increase investment in the country.
“We really have to base our policies on a good perception of the common interests, growing global challenges and how the international community would expect us to act, and not allow suspicion, fear, or even hatred to hijack our foreign policy,” said Chinese Ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai in an interview on China-U.S. relations with CNN on July 18.