The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced in a statement Monday that the Chengdu consulate closed at 10 a.m. “Relevant Chinese authorities then entered from the main entrance and took over,” the ministry said in the statement posted on Chinese social media platform Weibo.
Over the weekend, hundreds of people had gathered outside the US consulate in the southwestern city of 16.5 million people, taking selfies and waving Chinese flags. On Saturday, the US insignia was taken down, while on Sunday removal work began on a plaque outside the embassy and shipping containers were loaded onto trucks, as staff prepared for the consulate to be closed.
The Chinese government had given the Americans the same time frame of 72 hours to close their Chengdu mission as Beijing had been afforded in Houston, where last Tuesday, Washington told China to “cease all operations and events.”
The Chinese Foreign Ministry called that move an “unprecedented escalation” of ongoing tensions between the two countries.
“The current situation between China and the United States is something China does not want to see, and the responsibility rests entirely with the United States,” the foreign ministry said in the statement.
“As President Trump has made very clear, we need a strategy that protects the American economy and indeed our way of life. The free world must triumph over this new tyranny,” Pompeo said.
“The truth is that our policies — and those of other free nations — resurrected China’s failing economy, only to see Beijing bite the international hands that were feeding it. We opened our arms to Chinese citizens, only to see the Chinese Communist Party exploit our free and open society.”