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Chinese and US national flags flutter at the entrance of a company office building in Beijing.

Wang Zhao | AFP | Getty Images

The U.S. State Department confirmed on Wednesday it had ordered China to close its consulate in Houston, Texas, prompting Beijing to insist on firm countermeasures unless Washington immediately reverses its decision.

The move comes as political tensions between the world’s two largest economies continue to escalate.

U.S. State Department spokesperson Morgan Ortagus said the directive to close China’s Consulate General Houston had been made to protect American intellectual property and the private information of its citizens.

The Vienna Convention states diplomats must “respect the laws and regulations of the receiving State” and “have a duty not to interfere in the internal affairs of that State,” Ortagus continued.

He added that Washington would not tolerate the People’s Republic of China’s violations of U.S. 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.

This is a breaking news story, please check back later for more.

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