The State Department informed Congress it intends to reopen the US consulate in Wuhan later this month, according to a congressional notification obtained by CNN.
“The Department is planning to resume operations on or around June 22, 2020, although stands ready to modify this schedule as conditions develop,” the notification from Assistant Secretary of State for Legislative Affairs Mary Elizabeth Taylor said.
“At this critical juncture in US-China relations, it is critical that our diplomatic posts in China are staffed,” the notification said.
The rhetoric between Washington and Beijing has grown increasingly heated throughout the coronavirus pandemic, and the Trump administration has sought to pin blame on China for the deadly outbreak that originated in Wuhan.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has repeatedly condemned Beijing for a lack of transparency about the pandemic.
He reiterated last month that the administration intends to punish China for the outbreak, but noted that “the precise mechanisms that we will choose — I want to make sure that (President Donald Trump) gets the chance to get fully briefed and make those decisions.”