the US “message” to the Beijing spy

The United States gave Beijing three days on Tuesday to close its consulate in Houston, one of the world’s largest centers for biological and medical research, citing espionage.

The end of a diplomatic mission. The closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston, which is expected to take effect on Friday, July 24, would “send a message” to other Chinese diplomats to “stop” economic espionage activities in the United States, says a senior US official.

“The entire operation of the Houston Consulate has largely crossed the line of what we were prepared to accept, and if we had not stopped them, they threatened to become even more aggressive, in Houston as in other consulates. Chinese across the country,” he said. the official of the Ministry of Justice to reporters on anonymity.

“At some point, you just have to say ‘enough,'” a senior U.S. government official added. “Houston strives to show that we are serious.”

>> Also read on France24.com: Closing of the Chinese Consulate in Houston: espionage or election maneuver?

The United States gave Beijing 72 hours on Tuesday to close its consulate in this city of Texas, one of the world’s largest centers for biological and medical research, citing espionage. The move took shape on Friday morning in front of the affected building in Houston. People carried bags in a moving van and threw large garbage bags in nearby dumpsters.

A “spy hub”

This diplomatic mission was “a hub for espionage and theft of intellectual property. [par la Chine]”, the head of US diplomacy Mike Pompeo accused on Thursday, without mentioning specific facts accused of consulate employees.

The Ministry of Justice confirmed on Friday that the closure was more the culmination of a process than a response to a specific case.

“We want to phase out these activities in Houston and prevent similar activities by Chinese officials at other consulates,” he said. “Close the consulate in Houston and prevent these officials from moving elsewhere[aux Etats-Unis] achieve these two goals, ”he said.

With AFP