U.S. ratch­ets up China ten­sions, or­ders clos­ing of Hous­ton con­sulate

Chicago Sun-Times - - NATION/WORLD -

WASH­ING­TON — The United States or­dered China to close its con­sulate in Hous­ton, es­ca­lat­ing ten­sions be­tween the world’s largest economies as Pres­i­dent Donald Trump ramps up puni­tive mea­sures against China ahead of the Novem­ber U.S. elec­tion. Bei­jing de­nounced the or­der Wed­nes­day as “out­ra­geous” and said it would draw a firm re­sponse if not re­versed.

The phys­i­cal clo­sure of the con­sulate, one of China’s six mis­sions in the United States, marked a dra­matic step in in­creas­ingly con­tentious re­la­tions that have been strained not only by the coro­n­avirus pan­demic but dis­putes over trade, hu­man rights, Hong Kong and Chi­nese as­sertive­ness in the South China Sea.

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