China said it had taken over the premises of the U.S. consulate in the southwestern city of Chengdu on Monday after ordering the facility to be shut down in retaliation for being expelled from the Chinese consulate in Houston , Texas. Police in Chengdu limited access to the area around the consulate on Monday morning, and at approximately 10:24 a.m. four staff protective equipment officers were seen walking towards the consulate. Local time (GMT 0224).
China ordered the closure of the facility on Friday after Washington last week gave China 72 hours to close its consulate in Houston, in a drastic escalation of tensions between the world’s two largest economies. “The U.S. consulate in Chengdu has been proudly promoting the mutual understanding between Americans and the people in Sichuan, Chongqing, Guizhou, Yunnan and Tibet since 1985. We will forever miss you,” it said.
On Sunday night, a crane was seen entering the consulate and hoisting at least one container on a big truck. On Saturday night, a worker was seen using devices, including a hammer and a chisel, to cut fittings around a plaque outside the main entrance.