US consulate closure in Chengdu lost 35 years of exchanges, says diplomat’s wife

Tzu-i Chuang, the wife of the US consul general in Chengdu, said 35 years of exchanges between Beijing and Washington had been consigned to history following China’s closure of the American consulate in the southwestern city.

The Taiwanese food writer, who is married to Jim Mullinax, the US consul general in Chengdu, wrote a Facebook post describing her sadness at the impact of the mission’s closure on its more than 100 local staff, and on the 23 US diplomats and their family members who had flown back to China only last week after leaving during the country’s coronavirus outbreak.
According to her post, employees at the consulate – which had been open since 1985 – worked 24-hour shifts during the three days it was given to close, and many cried after the American flag was lowered for the final time on Monday morning.

“They wanted to order a banner that read ‘thank you Chengdu 1985-2020’ to hang in front of the consulate building, but unfortunately they were unable to do this, which was very regretful,” Chuang wrote on Monday.

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China urges U.S. to bring ties back to normal

Chinese Foreign Ministry has 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 statement once again urged Washington to immediately revoke its wrong decision and create necessary conditions to bring the bilateral relationship back to normal.

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, said 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.
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.

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.

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