Rubio: the Chinese consulate in Houston was a “massive spy center”

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Sen. Marco Rubio, of R-Fla., Tweeted his support for closing a Chinese consulate in Houston on Wednesday, claiming espionage activity was being carried out through the facility.

The United States ordered the consulate closed on Tuesday. The Chinese government said Wednesday morning it had been asked to do so without warning, but Rubio says the move was “long overdue.”

CHINA THREATENING RETALIATIONS AFTER US ORDERS CLOSE FROM HOUSTON CONSULATE

“# The Chinese Consulate in Houston is a massive spy center, forcing it to close is long overdue,” he said, describing it as a “central node” of the Chinese Communist Party’s spy operations. .

“It had to happen,” he tweeted.

China called the shutdown an “unprecedented escalation” on the part of the United States and threatened to retaliate, according to the South China Morning Post.

“China demands that the United States revoke the wrong decision. If the United States goes ahead, China will take the necessary countermeasures, ”Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin said.

State Department spokesman Morgan Ortagus said in a statement to Fox News that the shutdown directive was issued “to protect American intellectual property and American private information.”

The United States “will not tolerate violations of our sovereignty by the PRC and intimidation of our people, just as we have not tolerated unfair trade practices by the PRC, the theft of American jobs and others. blatant behavior, ”she added. “President Trump insists on fairness and reciprocity in US-China relations. ”

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Documents were burned in the consulate yard on Tuesday evening, KPRC-TV in Houston reported.

“You could just smell the paper burning,” a witness told the station. “But, all the firefighters were right around the building. They couldn’t enter. ”

Fox News’ Brie Stimson and The Associated Press contributed to this report.

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