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    U.S. orders China to shut Houston consulate

    The United States has ordered China to close its consulate in Houston Texas, and Beijing is threatening retaliation. A Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson called the request a political provocation: “China strongly condemns such an outrageous and unjustified move which will sabotage China-U.S. relations. We urge the U.S. to immediately withdraw its erroneous decision. Otherwise, China will make a legitimate and necessary response.” A source with direct knowledge of the matter said China was considering closing the U.S. consulate in Wuhan in turn, where the State Department withdrew staff and their families early this year amid the coronavirus outbreak that first emerged in that city. A State Department spokeswoman said China was asked to close the Houston consulate “in order to protect American intellectual property and American’s private information,” but did not give specifics. After the U.S. requested China pull out of Houston, local media reported late on Tuesday that documents had been burned in a courtyard at the consulate building. China’s foreign ministry said the consulate was operating normally.
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    World News from Reuters

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