US-China re­la­tions

The Korea Times - - OPINION -

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)

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