The escalating confrontation between the United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, could further destabilize the international situation. Both countries should realize their heavy responsibilities and stop the chain of retaliation.
The United States has shut down the Chinese Consulate General in Houston, Texas, in the southwestern part of the country, on the ground that it was used as a “hub of Chinese spying.”
As a countermeasure, China has closed the U.S. Consulate General in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, and claimed that some personnel at the consulate general were “conducting activities not in line with their identities.”
The role of a consulate general is to protect its own country’s citizens, be aware of the situation in the country where it is located and engage in dialogue and exchange with the host country. However, taking advantage of a Vienna Convention article on the inviolability of foreign diplomatic missions, major powers often engage in intense intelligence-gathering activities.
There are many cases in which a diplomat who is believed to be a spy is deported. However, it is unusual for a country to close a diplomatic mission of another country without specifying concrete illicit activities of that country. This can be regarded as a serious aspect of the confrontation between the United States and China. (AP)