The US State Department has notified Congress that it plans to re-open the US consulate in Wuhan, China, later this month as relations between the two countries continue to deteriorate over the coronavirus pandemic, human rights, trade, and China’s policies in Hong Kong.
The consulate had been shut in late January due to the virus outbreak that is believed to have originated in Wuhan, the capital of Hubei province.
The consulate was one of only two US diplomatic posts – the other was the consulate in Vladivostok, Russia – to completely suspend operations for virus-related reasons, although all US missions severely curtailed their services.
The State Department said it intends to open the Wuhan consulate “on or about June 22” but that the date could slip depending on local conditions.
“At this critical juncture in US-China relations, it is critical that our diplomatic posts in China are staffed,” said the notice, a copy of which was obtained by The Associated Press.
“At the current time, conditions in China generally, and Hubei province specifically, have improved to such a degree that resuming operations in Wuhan is appropriate,” it said.