The Chinese Consulate General in New York on Friday refuted U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo's claims that diplomats in the consulate were engaged in behavior "more akin to what spies are doing."
"The U.S. side deliberately distorts normal exchanges between the consulate and its consular district with the false accusation, which is obviously groundless and unpopular," said the consulate in a statement.
The Chinese Consulate General in New York always acts in accordance with international law and bilateral agreements between China and the U.S., it said.
In 2019, trade in goods between China and the ten states in its consular district accounted for about 15 percent of China- U.S. trade, according to the consulate. Besides, the number of Chinese students studying in the consular district is approximately 150,000 and the number of tourists from China to NYC rose to 1.1 million.
"Since the outbreak of COVID-19, people from all walks of life in China and Americans in our consular district have helped each other, further deepening friendship between the two peoples," it pointed out.
There has never been any "espionage" activity, the consulate added, calling the accusation "nothing but vicious slander."