By Julian Pecquet - 01/02/14 09:52 AM EST
China is demanding that the Obama administration protect its diplomatic facilities after an arson attack on its consulate in San Francisco Wednesday evening.
“The arson attack is a violent crime targeted at the Chinese consular institution in the United States, causing severe damage to the consulate facilities and posing a threat to the safety of the consulate staff and the residents living nearby,” the consulate said in a statement on Thursday. “We strongly condemn this despicable act and have already made representations with the US side on the attack. We urge the US side to take all necessary measures to provide adequate protection for Chinese consular personnel and properties, and bring the culprit(s) to justice as soon as possible.”
The consulate credited State Department diplomatic security officers and San Francisco fire and police units for arriving on scene “immediately in the wake of the attack.”
Shortly before 9:30 p.m., an unidentified person exited a mini van parked in front of the consulate and poured two buckets of gasoline on its front door before setting it on fire, the consulate said. No one has been arrested and the police have no suspects, according to The New York Times.
The attack comes amid heightened tensions between the two countries over territorial disputes in the Pacific and other issues. It has caused consternation among Chinese social media users, the Times reports, many of whom remain outraged by the U.S. bombing of the Chinese embassy during the 1999 Kosovo campaign, which killed three people.
Please send tips and comments to Julian Pecquet: email@example.com