Foreign Ministrys response to the closure of the US Consulate General in Chengdu: the responsibility for the current situation between China and the United States rests entirely with the US side (source: video synthesis)
Why did China close the US Consulate General in Chengdu
On July 24, China announced the closure of the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, in order to counter the US request to close the Chinese Consulate General in Houston. In an interview with the global times, analysts said that choosing the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu as the target of counter-measures, equality of diplomatic dignity is the first core principle, and also reflects the signal that China is still committed to managing and controlling the differences between China and the United States. Experts also warned that the next three months will be the most challenging period for bilateral relations after China and the United States stop their consulates, and the probability of highly unpredictable events will increase.
According to the Chinese Ministry of foreign affairs, on the morning of July 24, 2020, the Chinese Ministry of foreign affairs informed the US embassy in China that China had decided to revoke the license for the establishment and operation of the US Consulate General in Chengdu, and put forward specific requirements for the Consulate General to stop all business and activities. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs said that Chinas above-mentioned measures are a legitimate and necessary response to the US sides unreasonable act of suddenly asking China to close the Consulate General of Houston, which conforms to international law, basic norms of international relations and diplomatic practices.
On July 21, the United States suddenly asked China to close its Consulate General in Houston, Texas, within 72 hours. In response, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said several times in the past two days that this is a unilateral political provocation launched by the US side against China, and that China will certainly make proper and necessary responses. Public opinion generally believes that the closure of the consulate is the latest sign of the escalation of tension between China and the United States.
According to public information, the United States has five consulates in Chinese mainland, located in Guangzhou, Shanghai, Shenyang, Chengdu and Wuhan. The U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu was established in 1985, which is of great strategic significance, covering Southwest China, including Sichuan, Yunnan, Guizhou, Tibet and Chongqing. In 1999, after the US bombed the Chinese Embassy in the former fry, angry Chinese people surrounded the US Consulate General in Chengdu to protest strongly.
Prior to this, some media speculated that China would close the U.S. Consulate General in Wuhan as a counter measure to the closure of the US Consulate General in Houston. However, analysts believe that due to the epidemic, some staff of the US consulate in Wuhan have not yet returned. If the US Consulate General in Wuhan is closed, it is not enough to respond to the unprecedented political provocations of the United States in a reciprocal manner.
It is worth noting that China has chosen the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu as the counter target, while signaling that China is still committed to managing and controlling the differences between China and the United States.. Li Haidong, a professor at the Institute of international relations of the Foreign Affairs College, told the global times that among all the US embassies and consulates in China, the business volume and the regions faced by the Chengdu consulate general are relatively small, and the number of American citizens and enterprises in the regions involved is relatively limited.
He believes that this means that the closure of the Chengdu consulate will have little impact on limiting the normal exchange of personnel between China and the United States and the actual relations between China and the United States. This is corresponding to the choice of the smaller Chinese Consulate in Houston by the United States. It also shows that China is still dealing with this issue in the light of managing and controlling differences, trying to prevent the Sino US tensions from escalating sharply in a short period of time.