The United States will open its fifth consulate general on the Chinese mainland in Wuhan, capital of Hubei Province in central China and a major city on the Yangtze River, early next year.
The new consulate general will start business after the Spring Festival, which falls on Feb. 7, 2008.
Wendy P. Lyle, a Chinese American citizen of Taiwan origin, will be the first consul general. She is expected to take office on Friday, according to information from the Hubei provincial foreign affairs bureau.
The U.S. embassy in Beijing confirmed the opening of the new consulate in Wuhan, but declined to provide further details.
Opening of the Wuhan consulate general represents the first expansion the United States' diplomatic presence in more than two decades.
In accordance with an agreement signed in 1981, the United States could build consulates general in Shanghai, Guangzhou, Shenyang, Chengdu and Wuhan, while China could do the same in American cities of San Francisco, New York, Chicago, Houston and Honolulu.
Wuhan is the last consulate general to be opened under the agreement.
Negotiations for its opening have been going on since Septemberlast year, said the Hubei provincial foreign affairs bureau.
The new consulate general will serve Hubei, Hunan, Henan and Jiangxi provinces.
Cities in Hubei Province have forged friendly ties with seven cities of the United States. The province now hosts 469 U.S.-invested businesses.
The United States is the second country after France to open a consulate general in Wuhan.