A boy holds up a Chinese flag across the street from the US consulate in Chengdu, Sichuan Province, China, on July 26, 2020. (Photo by Reuters)
The US consulate in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu has been making final preparations for its closure, which was ordered in retaliation for Washingtonís move last week to shut down the Chinese consulate in Houston.
A bus pulled out of the US consulate compound in Chengdu on Sunday morning. It was unclear how many passengers were on board. The bus had arrived at the consulate on Saturday afternoon along with two vans.
The American national emblem in front of the office area of the consulate, where some 50 American and 150 locals had been employed, was also removed.
Security measures were tightened outside the consulate and police imposed traffic control on the main street.
Police urged bystanders holding Chinese flags and taking photos on the street in front of the consulate gates not to gather and move on.
On Tuesday, Washington abruptly informed Beijing to close its consulate in Houston, Texas. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo accused Chinese employees at the Houston consulate of espionage. Pompeo also said the consulate staff had been "stealing" intellectual property.
The Chinese Foreign Ministry reciprocated on Friday by ordering the closure of the Chengdu consulate on Monday 10 am local time (0200GMT).
Some personnel at the Chengdu consulate were "conducting activities not in line with their identities," Chinaís Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.
The US and China have been at odds over a range of issues; but recently, Washington has significantly ratcheted up the tensions.
Pompeo has called for regime change in "Communist China."
"If the free world doesnít change Communist China, Communist China will change us," Pompeo said, adding that the "mission of our time" was to exert pressure to bring about such change.
Washingtonís aggressive posturing against Beijing comes shortly before the US presidential election in November.
SOURCE: PRESS TV