Image Credit: Social media/Twitter

Beijing:A bomb exploded outside the US embassy in Beijing on Thursday, wounding the lone assailant, the embassy said in a statement, but police described the weapon merely as a "firework device".

The explosion happened in a public space off the southeast corner of the embassy compound, the embassy said. Beijing police said the suspect, a 26-year-old man from China's Inner Mongolia region, had injured his hand.

Police did not provide a motive but China and the United States have been involved in an escalating trade dispute initiated by the Trump administration after the two sides imposed tariffs on $34 billion (Dh124 billion) worth of each other's goods.

Witnesses told Reuters that they heard an explosion near the embassy and felt tremors.

A police SUV appeared to have been damaged, with its back windshield missing, and was cordoned off by police before being removed, a Reuters witness said.

Crowds were still queueing outside the embassy after the explosion and traffic was moving as normal in an area of northeastern Beijing that is home to numerous embassies including those of France, India and Israel.

Postings on social media showed pictures of smoke close to where people line up outside the compound for visa appointments.

Some video clips and images were later removed.

Staff members at the Indian and South Korean embassies said they were unaware of any unusual incident and were working as normal.

An earlier report in the Global Times, a newspaper run by the ruling Communist Party's People's Daily, said that police had removed a woman who had sprayed herself with gasoline in a suspected self-immolation attempt.