fredag 24. juli 2020

US move to shut China's Houston consulate draws questions about political motives

The US demand Wednesday that China shut its Houston consulate within 72 hours triggered Chinese threats of retaliation, the latest escalation between the two nations as the Trump administration intensifies its campaign against Beijing in the run-up to November's elections. Deputy Secretary of State Steve Biegun pointed Wednesday to "a growing number of disputes" between the US and China over Beijing's "increasingly hardline and aggressive actions" that have led the administration to take action, including closing the consulate in Houston. 

Lawmakers, former officials and experts said strong pushback is needed to counter China's cyber and industrial espionage, its human rights abuses in Hong Kong and Xinjiang and aggressive expansion in the South China Sea -- but some suggested the Houston consulate was a politically driven and very carefully calibrated target, one chosen to create the appearance of toughness while avoiding the risk of a major clash.