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Pompeo says closed Chinese consulate in Houston was 'den of spies'

Washington DC: U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Thursday, July 30 the "tide is turning" in U.S. dealings with China, saying there is international support for American policies, including the step-up of maritime maneuvers in the South China Sea.

Reflecting rising tensions between Washington and Beijing, Pompeo took a tough line on China in testimony before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. "We see the Chinese Communist Party for what it is: the center threat of our times," Pompeo said. In recent days, Washington and Beijing have each closed one of the other country's consulates - the United States closing China's office in Houston and China retaliating by shuttering the U.S. facility in Chengdu - and Pompeo recently announced an end to Hong Kong's special trading status.

"We closed the consulate in Houston because it was a den of spies," Pompeo said. Pompeo was testifying publicly at Foreign Relations Committee hearing for the first time in 15 months, discussing the State Department's annual budget request.
President Donald Trump's administration has tried to slash the State Department budget since it took office, which has been rejected by Congress every year. Democratic lawmakers told the hearing that they would not support steep cuts this year either.

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