"I want to understand better not just the tactical considerations but how this measure advances our strategy".
The U.S. has withdrawn Hong Kong's special trade status and imposed visa restrictions on several Chinese Communist Party officials, which the Chinese government calls "interference in domestic affairs".
Mr Rubio said that he expected the Chinese to respond reciprocally and close one of America's diplomatic facilities in China, likely in the city of Wuhan. "It's always possible", he told reporters at the White House. A local Houston television station showed video of smoke coming from an area inside the consulate.
In the meantime, the USA side has also intimidated, interrogated Chinese students studying in the United States, confiscated their personal electronic devices, and even detained them for no reason, noted Wang. "Knowing Americans, you have the rule of law, you are not guilty until you are proved guilty".
The State Department said the move was necessary to protect US intellectual property and private information.
"China urges the USA to immediately withdraw its wrong decision, or China will definitely take a proper and necessary response", Wang said. Dozens of first responders arrived at the site but they did not go into the property as under global convention, the consulate is considered Chinese terr HURTLING TOWARDS A CONFRONTATION ► Slander, says China on research hacking claimsBeijing accused the USA of "slander" after two Chinese nationals were indicted for seeking to steal coronavirus vaccine research and hacking hundreds of companies.
The unilateral announcement on closing China's Consulate-General in Houston, according to Wang, is an upgraded action that escalates tensions between China and the U.S.to an unprecedented level. Pompeo added the USA would consider protecting other countries in the area against China through legal means.
The United States has abruptly ordered China to close its consulate in Houston within 72 hours. He warned of firm countermeasures if the US does not reverse itself.
The consulate is one of five in the USA, not including the Chinese embassy in Washington.
The United States has hardened its position in recent weeks on the South China Sea, where it has accused China of attempting to build a "maritime empire" in the potentially energy-rich waters. On Wednesday afternoon, consulate staff could be seen loading cleaning supplies and paper products into a van parked outside the building. However, the destruction of confidential documents at a facility that has been ordered or otherwise forced to close on short notice, including USA missions, is not unusual.
Stilwell said that some of China's attempted scientific thefts in the United States had accelerated over the last six months, and could be related to efforts to develop a vaccine for the coronavirus - although he again presented no evidence. The foreign ministry spokesman called on the U.S.to reverse its decision on the consulate, but said, "Should [the U.S.] insist on going down this wrong path, China will react with firm countermeasures".
In addition to its embassy in Washington and its mission to the United Nations in New York, China has consulates in New York, Chicago and Los Angeles. He did not specify whether the actions were related to the Houston consulate.
State-run tabloid the Global Times launched a poll on Twitter asking people to vote for which USA consulate in China should be closed in response, including the ones in Hong Kong, Guangzhou and Chengdu. China has until Friday to close down the consulate.
The US has the the Chinese consulate in Houston closed.
Moritsugu reported from Beijing. Juan Lozano in Houston, Texas contributed.