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Trump made clear he's unhappy with China - White House adviser on consulate closure

U.S. President Donald Trump addresses a coronavirus disease (COVID-19) response news briefing at the White House in Washington, U.S., July 21, 2020. REUTERS/Leah Millis

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - When asked about the message the United States is sending by shutting a Chinese consulate in Texas, White House adviser Kellyanne Conway said President Donald Trump remains unhappy with China over its handling of an outbreak of the novel coronavirus that has killed more than 140,000 Americans.

“I think this president has made very clear that he’s unhappy with China - the fact that China virus was unleashed onto this country and around the world with very little information, honesty and transparency from China,” Conway said in response to a reporter’s question on the shuttering hours earlier. “We’re still not getting information from China. We still don’t know the case numbers, the death numbers, etcetera.”

Washington “abruptly demanded” closure of the Houston consulate on Tuesday, China’s foreign ministry said. The editor of an official media outlet said China had been given 72 hours to depart. The relationship between the two powerhouse nations has frayed since they signed a trade deal in January, with Trump’s administration squarely blaming China for a global pandemic and accusing China of hacking and cyberspying.

“The president’s made very clear - on the one hand we have a fully enforceable written trade agreement with China, at the same time there will be tough action,” Conway said.

Reporting by Lisa Lambert and Timothy Ahmann, Editing by Franklin Paul and Chizu Nomiyama