As the relations between two countries worsen, US has said that China has been engaging in massive illegal spying and influencing operations against US government officials and American citizens.
"The People's Republic of China has engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations throughout the United States against U.S. government officials and American citizens. These activities have increased markedly in scale and scope over the past few years," US State Department Spokesperson told .
"As detailed by Secretary of State Pompeo, FBI Director Wray, and Attorney General Barr in public remarks, PRC officials have interfered in our domestic politics, stolen U.S. intellectual property, coerced our business leaders, threatened families of Chinese Americans residing in China, and more," the State Department spokesperson said.
US President Donald Trump said on Wednesday (local time) that his administration does not rule out closing additional Chinese diplomatic missions in the United States.
"As far as closing additional embassies, it's always possible. We thought there was a fire in the one we did close, I guess they were burning documents and papers. I wonder what that is all about," Trump said during a daily press briefing at the White House when asked if he planned to close more Chinese diplomatic missions in the country.
Earlier on Wednesday, the US State Department ordered China to close by Friday its consulate in Houston, Texas, over accusations that it engaged for years in massive illegal spying and influence operations in the US.
Regarding the same, State Secretary Mike Pompeo said, "It's not just American intellectual property been stolen, it's been European intellectual property too, causing hundreds - costing hundreds of thousands of jobs, good jobs for hard-working people all across Europe and America stolen by the Chinese Communist Party."
"We are setting out clear expectations for how the Chinese Communist Party is going to behave, and when they do not, we are going to take actions that protect the American people, protect our security, our national security, and also protect our economy and jobs. That's the actions that you're seeing taken by President Trump. We will continue to engage in those," Pompeo told reporters further.
The two countries have sparred over a range of issues in recent times -- China's move to impose national security law in Hong Kong, its human rights violation in Xinjiang and territorial aggression in the South China Sea have all drawn fierce criticism from Washington.
Accusing China of bullying smaller countries, US Defence Secretary Mark T Esper had on Tuesday vowed to deter against China's "coercive behaviour" in the South China Sea.
( With inputs from ANI )