US and China in talks to reopen consulates, closed in 2020 under Trump administration: report – Community News
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US and China in talks to reopen consulates, closed in 2020 under Trump administration: report

The United States and China are mulling over the reopening of their consulates that were closed in 2020 during Donald Trump’s administration. The consulates were closed as ties between the two countries had soured following the global outbreak of COVID-19. According to Politico, both countries are now taking steps towards reopening their respective consulates. In 2020, the United States had asked Beijing to close its consulate in Houston.

In response, China retaliated by asking Washington to close its consulate in Chengdu. Although both countries are sparring over Taiwan, relations between them have improved somewhat in recent months. During a briefing on Friday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin had also attacked the Trump administration without publicly naming the former US president. Wang claimed that “many incidents unilaterally provoked by the previous US administration” had seriously affected US-China relations.

China had retaliated when the United States ordered the closure of its consulate in Houston. China’s foreign ministry had issued a statement regarding the closure of the US consulate in Chengdu, saying it is a “legitimate and necessary response” to the Donald Trump administration following the sudden closure of the Chinese consulate in Houston. China said China’s move is in line with international law and basic standards of international relations, “as well as diplomatic practices,” and said it is a retaliatory measure.

The US had closed the Chinese consulate citing “to protect American intellectual property” and private information of the Americans. The Trump administration had stated that the US will not tolerate China’s violations of sovereignty and intimidation of the American people, adding that it would not tolerate China’s unfair trade practices and other “outrageous behavior.” The decision was announced by then-U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo.

“This week we closed the Chinese consulate in Houston because it was a center of espionage and intellectual property theft,” Pompeo said.

US-China struggle

However, there are still tensions between the two countries over several issues, including Taiwan. Beijing has repeatedly claimed that Taiwan is the breakaway province and has ambitions to unite it with mainland China. However, Taiwan has vehemently opposed China’s claims and has been governed independently for more than seven decades. The United States has supported Taiwan by supplying it with military aircraft and tanks. In addition, ties between Washington and the island nation have grown in recent months. Beijing has repeatedly opposed US-Taiwan ties and has constantly threatened that “Taiwan independence” means war. On June 1, Chinese President Xi Jinping pledged full reunification with self-ruled Taiwan and vowed to destroy any attempt at formal independence for the island.

However, the United States has also confirmed that it can “definitely” defend Taiwan against a possible Chinese attack if asked. But he also said he does not expect China to attempt to take Taiwan in the next 24 months. However, Milley added that if Beijing attacks the self-governing island, US forces will be “absolutely capable” of defending Taiwan, “there is no doubt about it”. He added that it is up to the White House to decide whether the United States wants to intervene if China seeks control of the island.

With input from agencies