The Chinese Embassy in Washington on Wednesday (local time) accused the US of taking the relationship between the two countries down a wrong path and said it was time to return to the right direction. “If the #ChinaUS relationship is a vehicle, the US is taking it onto a wrong path, and worse still, it is hitting the accelerator. It’s time to step on the brakes and return to the right direction!” the Chinese Embassy in the US said in a tweet.

Earlier, the US State Department ordered China to close by Friday its consulate in Houston, Texas, over accusations that it engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations in the US. “The People’s Republic of China has engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations throughout the United States against U.S. government officials and American citizens. These activities have increased markedly in scale and scope over the past few years,” US State Department Spokesperson told ANI.

“As detailed by Secretary of State Pompeo, FBI Director Wray, and Attorney General Barr in public remarks, PRC officials have interfered in our domestic politics, stolen U.S. intellectual property, coerced our business leaders, threatened families of Chinese Americans residing in China, and more,” the State Department spokesperson said.

Also Read: China engaged in massive illegal spying for years, U.S raises alarm bells on peeping tom China

Also Read: After Houston, U.S hints at closing additional Chinese diplomatic missions

In an earlier statement, the Chinese Embassy slammed the US for “abruptly” demanding closure of the Chinese Consulate General in Houston. “It is a political provocation unilaterally launched by the US side, which seriously violates international law, basic norms governing international relations and the bilateral consular agreement between China and the US. China strongly condemns and firmly opposes such an outrageous and unjustified move which sabotages China-US relations,” the Embassy said in a statement available on its website.

The two countries have sparred over a range of issues in recent times — China’s move to impose national security law in Hong Kong, its human rights violation in Xinjiang and territorial aggression in the South China Sea have all drawn fierce criticism from Washington.

Also Read: ‘Unacceptable’: U.S chides China on Gaiwan clash

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