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Trump administration shuttered Chinese consulate in Houston due to targeting of US energy firms: sources


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Trump administration shuttered Chinese consulate in Houston due to targeting of US energy firms: sources

The Trump administration moved to close the consulate on Tuesday

The Trump administration’s move to shutter the Chinese consulate in Houston was due, in part, to the Chinese Communist Party’s targeting of U.S. energy firms, Fox News has learned.

Multiple intelligence sources told Fox News Thursday that one major reason the consulate closed, as opposed to other Chinese diplomatic outposts, was because the CCP was carrying out threats and intimidation tactics targeting U.S. energy firms in the South China Sea.

The Chinese officials carrying this out, according to sources, were based mostly in the Houston consulate.

The information comes after the State Department claimed Wednesday that the administration was closing the consulate due to increased espionage activity.

The U.S. directed the closure of the consulate in Houston on Tuesday. By Wednesday, the Chinese government said that they had been instructed to do so without warning, though Sen. Marco Rubio, R-Fla., the acting chairman of the Senate Intelligence Committee, said that the move was “long overdue.”

“#China’s Houston consulate is a massive spy center, forcing it to close is long overdue,” Rubio tweeted, describing it as a “central node” of the Chinese Communist Party’s spy operations.

“This needed to happen,” he tweeted.

China called the closure an “unprecedented escalation" by the United States and threatened to retaliate, according to the South China Morning Post.

“China demands the U.S. revoke the wrong decision. If the U.S. went ahead, China would take necessary countermeasures,” said Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said in a statement to Fox News that the closure directive was issued "to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information.”

The U.S. "will not tolerate the PRC’s violations of our sovereignty and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated the PRC’s unfair trade practices, theft of American jobs, and other egregious behavior," she added. "President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in U.S.-China relations.”

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