Washington: Five Chinese nationals have been arrested under espionage charges of which four were found to have ties to the Chinese military. The fifth suspect is a Singaporean national and has confessed to working for the Chinese intelligence agency. Also, China has closed down its Houston consulate, and the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) has reportedly taken control of the premises. After the series of events that transpired, the media has begun claiming a Cold War had sparked between the US and China.
US President Donald Trump undertook a forceful campaign against China for the past four years, and the US-China trade war is a stark example of it. Apart from that, President Trump has taken an aggressive stance on various issues such as cyber-attacks, Chinese investments and espionage. After the Coronavirus outbreak, Trump intensified position against China and has now launched a diplomatic war with the country. In the past few months, the Trump administration has repeatedly dealt blows to China over Huawei, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Taiwan. The closure of the Houston consulate and arrests of the Chinese spies are considered the next phase in the US policy.
Senior officials of the Trump administration have swirled accusations against the ruling Chinese Communist regime one after another and indicated the relations between the two nations would not remain the same anymore. The Trump administration officials are exposing the Chinese activities and have warned of taking stern action against them. Also, the orders to shut the Houston consulate in 3 days and the subsequent arrests of five Chinese spies, assume extremely significance.
The US Department of Justice and the FBI have submitted a charge sheet on all the Chinese spies. Four of them were researchers at US universities, which include the Universities of California, Stanford and Indiana. The four perpetrators are Wang Xin, Song Chen, Zhao Kaikai and Tang Juan, all of whom are affiliated to the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) of China. The arrest of Tang Juan is most critical as she is a member of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) and has worked with the PLA. However, Juan Tang concealed the information while applying for a US visa.
Last month, the FBI had even investigated Tang Juan on the matter. After that, she is believed to have taken refuge in the Chinese consulate of San Francisco to escape arrest. The FBI had then accused the consulate of trying to avoid providing the correct details on it. On the sidelines of the events, Tang Juan’s arrest is important. US officials have informed that Tang would be presented in court on Monday. Furthermore, sources have said that the FBI has undertaken an investigation of Chinese students and researchers across 25 states in the country.
In addition to the cases of affiliation with PLA, one Singaporean national was also arrested under charges of spying for China. Chinese spy Jun Wei Yeo has confessed to working for the Chinese intelligence agency through political consultancy in the US. From 2015 to 2019, he has admitted to having used the political consultancy to acquire classified information from the US defence sector as well as government officials.
Meanwhile, China shut down its consulate in Houston. Shortly after the diplomatic officials took down the flag and closed the office, an FBI squad took control of the building. On Thursday, as he launched a scathing attack on the Chinese regime, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo affirmed that the Houston consulate was being used as a hub for spying. Moreover, the US media and analysts claimed the US-China war that had begun with the cases related to the Houston consulate and Chinese espionage, were an indication of a new Cold War that had sparked between the two countries.