July 24, 2020 / 2:55 PM / 18 days ago

Houston consulate one of worst offenders in Chinese espionage - U.S. officials

WASHINGTON, July 24 (Reuters) - Espionage and other malign activity by China’s diplomatic missions is occurring all over the United States, but its Houston consulate was one of the worst offenders and its activity went well over the line of what was acceptable, senior U.S. officials said on Friday.

In a briefing for journalists, a senior State Department official also linked activity at China’s Houston consulate, which the United States ordered closed this week, to China’s pursuit of research into a vaccine for the new coronavirus.

Earlier on Friday, China ordered the United States to close its consulate in the city of Chengdu, responding to the U.S. order that China close its Houston consulate, as relations between the world’s two largest economies deteriorate.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom and Daphne Psaledakis, Editing by Rosalba O'Brien

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