United States diplomats have fled their consulate in Chengdu, China, after the expiration of the 72-hour deadline Beijing has imposed on the agency. The move came in retaliation for the US government's forced closure of China's Houston Consulate last week.
According to BBC, the staff within the consulate were seen fleeing the building before the deadline on Monday as they removed a plaque and took down a US flag.
The Foreign Ministry of China said that Chinese personnel entered the building after the deadline expired and took over the building.
A spokesperson for the US State Department said the Chengdu Consulate has stood for 35 years representing the relationship between the people of the West and China.
He expressed his disappointment with the decision of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to close the agency down and stated they would continue their efforts of reaching out to people in the crucial region of China and their other posts in the country.
Several residents gathered outside of the US Consulate in Chengdu as it was being closed down while waving Chinese flags and taking selfie photos with the building as their background.
The move by Beijing comes after last week where the US government ordered the closure of the Houston Consulate of China amid accusations that it housed spies and was responsible for research theft of sensitive information.
The CCP gave the US Consulate the same 72-hour deadline that was given to its Houston Consulate. As the expiration of the period approached, the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs announced the building closed down at 10:00 a.m. before Chinese authorities entered through the main entrance and took over, as reported by CNN.
The city of Chengdu was a crucial diplomatic outpost for the United States that stretched over a large portion of China, including the Tibetan Autonomous Region.
On Monday, the US Mission in China posted a video on Twitter that featured photographs of the Chengdu Consulate on the day former Vice President George Bush opened it in 1985. The tweet also listed the areas that were included in the diplomatic mission.
Playing the role of the victim
According to The New York Times, Beijing accused Trump of being responsible for the deterioration of the two countries' governments and saying that the CCP's actions against the US were justified.
In retaliation for the move by the US, a Chinese official denounced United States diplomats in Chengdu for interfering with its domestic affairs.
In its version of recent events, the US is assaulting Beijing as Trump's administration continues to target China with its rising aggression towards trade, technology, and human rights.
In the last few weeks, the US government has sanctioned Chinese officials for alleged violations of human rights for its actions on ethnic minorities in the province of Xinjiang and banned Chinese companies from accessing American technology and denounced China's territorial claims in the South China Sea.