The United States has ordered the closure of China's consulate in the city of Houston, a move Beijing called "an unprecedented escalation" that will sabotage relations between the two countries.
In a statement on Wednesday, Morgan Ortagus, spokeswoman for the US Department of State, said Washington directed the consulate's closure "in order to protect American intellectual property and Americans' private information".
She did not elaborate further.
The diplomatic crisis between China and the United States is deepening.
Staff at the US consulate in Chengdu, China, are leaving after Beijing ordered its closure.
It is in response to the US ordering the closure of China's consulate in Houston, Texas.
Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu reports. China has ordered the closure of the US consulate in the south-western city of Chengdu, in a tit-for-tat escalation between the two countries.
China said the move was in response to the US closing its consulate in Houston, and accused staff in Chengdu of meddling in its internal affairs.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the US decision was taken because China was "stealing" intellectual property.
Tensions have been rising between the US and China over several key issues.
President Donald Trump's administration has clashed repeatedly with Beijing over trade and the coronavirus pandemic, as well as China's imposition of a controversial new security law in Hong Kong.
On Friday, Washington urged China to "cease these malign actions rather than engage in tit-for-tat retaliation". China has officially closed the US consulate in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu.
Beijing ordered the shutdown on Friday after Washington instructed China's consulate in Houston, Texas, to cease operations, saying it had been involved in espionage.
Al Jazeera's Katrina Yu reports from Chengdu, China. Chinese authorities took control of the former U.S. consulate in the southwestern Chinese city of Chengdu on Monday after it was ordered closed amid rising tensions between the global powers. China ordered the mission to be shut in retaliation for a U.S. order to close the Chinese Consulate in Houston, Texas. (27 July)