• By The Financial District


Retaliating for the Trump administration’s order to close China’s consulate in Houston, China announced on Friday that it had ordered the United States to shut its consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu, Keith Bradsher and Steven Lee Myers wrote for The New York Times early on July 24, 2020.

The tit-for-tat consulate closures were yet another twist in deteriorating relations between Washington and Beijing, perhaps the gravest one yet. Previous moves by the two sides have included visa restrictions, new travel rules for diplomats and the expulsion of foreign correspondents. By shutting down diplomatic missions, however, the two countries seem to be moving inexorably toward a deeper divide.

The announcement by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in Beijing came hours after Secretary of State Mike Pompeo delivered a speech summarizing the Trump administration’s increasingly aggressive stance toward China on virtually every aspect of the relationship — from trade to technology.

Chinese officials have reacted angrily to the administration’s moves, accusing Mr. Pompeo and others of embracing a Cold War mentality. They have denied or downplayed many of the accusations, including that the consulate in Houston was a hub of illegal activity.