US orders China to shut consulate in Houston, Texas

(VOVWORLD) - China condemned the US's order to close its consulate in the US city of Houston as a "political provocation" that will make diplomatic relations worse. 

Beijing has threatened retaliation on the surprise decision. The United States has "abruptly" ordered China to close its Houston consulate, Beijing said Wednesday.

The Texas-based consulate received the order to cease all operations on Tuesday. "China urges the US to immediately withdraw its decision or China will definitely make a proper and necessary response," said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.

"Such an outrageous and unjustified move that will sabotage China-US relations," added Wenbin. A US State Department spokesman said the closure was ordered to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information.