The Chinese order closing the US consulate in the south-western Chinese city of Chengdu is a tit-for-tat response to the US order earlier of closing the Chinese consulate in Houston in Texas state. US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo had then ascribed the closure to China “stealing” intellectual property. What aroused suspicion in Washington DC was a huge bonfire of files and papers in the consulate. Pompeo accused China of stealing "not just American intellectual property...but European intellectual property too...costing hundreds of thousands of jobs". With China vying for super power status, the Americans are hell bent on scuttling it, regardless of what it takes. That has contributed to the escalation which was built upon issues with Beijing over trade and the coronavirus pandemic, as well as China's imposition of a controversial new security law in Hong Kong besides the new reason of stealing intellectual property. The Chinese effort to dominate the seas has also set them on a collision course. In a further US move, four Chinese nationals have been charged with visa fraud for allegedly lying about their membership of China's armed forces—three are under arrest while the FBI is seeking to arrest the fourth, who is said to be in now-closed consulate.
With less than four months left for the current term of US presidency to end, there is intense speculation on whether the tough US stance would hold if a Democrat (Joe Biden) succeeds Donald Trump in the Presidency. At least a part of the Trumpian toughness may have to do with an issue on which the emotions of American voters can be aroused for presidential gains.