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Thu, 22 October 2020

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China warns UK of Hong Kong ‘consequences’ as Donald Trump’s top diplomat holds talks with Boris Johnson

China warns UK of Hong Kong ‘consequences’ as Donald Trump’s top diplomat holds talks with Boris Johnson

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo is in London to meet senior politicians. (PA)

3 min read

Britain will “bear the consequences” if it carries on down the “wrong road” on Hong Kong, China has warned.

The Chinese embassy in London accused Britain of “interfering” in the former colony after Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab suspended an extradition agreement amid ongoing anger at a controversial security law passed in Hong Kong.

The pushback came as US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo — a longstanding critic of China — prepared to hold talks with Boris Johnson, Mr Raab and Labour’s Sir Keir Starmer during a trip to London.

Mr Raab on Monday suspended the UK's extradition treaty with Hong Kong "immediately and indefinitely" amid ongoing tensions with the Chinese government, and said the move, coupled with an extension of the embargo on arms exports from the UK to include Hong Kong, was "a necessary and proportionate response" to China's actions.

He said its new security legislation — which clamps down on secession, subversion and terrorism in Hong Kong, the site of long-running pro-democracy protests — represented a "clear and serious of violation" of the longstanding agreement between UK and China.

But, hitting back in a statement issued on Monday night, the Chinese embassy in London said the UK had sought to “interfere in Hong Kong affairs, which are internal affairs of China”.

He added: “The Chinese side has lodged solemn representations to the UK side on many occasions to express our grave concern and strong opposition.

“Now the UK side has gone even further down the wrong road in disregard of China’s solemn position and repeated representations.

“It once again contravened international law and the basic norms governing international relations and blatantly interfered in China’s internal affairs in an attempt to disrupt the implementation of the National Security Law for Hong Kong SAR and undermine the city’s prosperity and stability. The Chinese side strongly condemns and firmly opposes this.”

And the Chinese ambassador warned: “China urges the UK side to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs, in any form. 

“The UK will bear the consequences if it insists on going down the wrong road.”

Secretary Pompeo, who was among those pushing the UK government to reconsider allowing Chinese firm Huawei to help build its high-speed 5G network, will hold meetings with a string of Conservative and Labour backbenchers as part of his UK trip.

He will visit Downing Street for talks with the Prime Minister, before taking part in a working lunch with Mr Raab.

The top US diplomat is due to take part in a joint press conference with Mr Raab at 3pm.

The move comes after a raft of Conservative MPs called on the UK to get even tougher with China and declare there is a “genocide” of the Uighur people taking place in Xinjiang province.

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