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US-China ties fray as Beijing’s Houston consulate shuts down

US-China relations deteriorated in a Cold War-style standoff as Beijing ordered a US consulate to shut in retaliation for the closure of its Houston mission.

The 72-hour deadline for the Houston mission’s closure ended at 4pm local time on Friday, and Chinese officials were seen loading large sacks of objects and documents onto U-Haul trucks and tossing more into Dumpster bins.

The closure of China’s Houston consulate on Friday marks a sharp deterioration in relations between the world’s two biggest economies, with China retaliating by ordering the shutdown of the US mission in the southwestern city of Chengdu.

They were jeered on by a small group of protesters who carried flags expressing support for US President Donald Trump.

Shortly after the last of the Beijing diplomats departed, law enforcement officials cordoned off the area and men who appeared to be US officials pried open a rear door. Then, two uniformed members of the US State Department’s Bureau of Diplomatic Security arrived to guard the door.

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