fbpx
Wednesday, August 12th, 2020
Home » Trade » China Has a Houston Problem

China Has a Houston Problem

BLOOMBERG, JULY 22, 2020

With the pandemic still raging and economies in deep trouble worldwide, the last thing anyone needs is a diplomatic freeze that sees communications dry up entirely.

By Rosalind Mathieson for Bloomberg – In the tit-for-tat between the U.S. and China over everything from trade and Hong Kong to technology, there have been plenty of symbolic moves, but also some significant ones.

Today’s news that the U.S. gave China three days to shutter its consulate in Houston feels like the latter.

It’s unclear what exactly sparked the dispute over the consulate, which covers a chunk of the U.S. south. The State Department said the closure was to “protect American intellectual property” and America’s “private information.” China’s Foreign Ministry called it an “unprecedented escalation,” accusing the U.S. of harassing diplomatic staff, confiscating personal electronic devices and detaining them without cause.

Local media reports showed fires at the building as consular officials apparently burned confidential documents.

In this video, Chinese officials can be seen burning documents inside their Consulate. When firefighters responded, they were told they were not allowed to enter the building.

China and the U.S. have penalized each other’s diplomats before, but expelling an entire office is another step completely. U.S. stock futures fell, as did soybean futures (China is a big buyer and the U.S. a big seller).

The question now is how Beijing responds. The nationalistic tabloid the Global Times is running a Twitter poll on which U.S. consulate should now be shut, including Hong Kong. Wuhan could also be on the chopping block.

Calibrating a reaction will be difficult. Because even as Beijing pushes back it will want to avoid triggering an even bigger escalation.

With the pandemic still raging and economies in deep trouble worldwide, the last thing anyone needs is a diplomatic freeze that sees communications dry up entirely.

Other articles you may find interesting

Copyright © 2020 PortandTerminal.com

Check Also

Retail store. Glass window. Person walking. Protective facemask

Retail imports to see lowest annual total in four years – Global Port Tracker

PortandTerminal.com, August 11, 2020 WASHINGTON – Imports at major U.S. retail container ports during 2020 …

Container yard

Hong Kong goods for export to U.S. to be labelled made in China

REUTERS, AUGUST 11, 2020 (Reuters) – Goods made in Hong Kong for export to the …