EU expresses ‘grave concern’ over HK security law, but rules out further action against China

01-Jun-2020 Intellasia | South China Morning Post | 6:02 AM Print This Post

The European Union has ruled out further action over China’s plans to impose a national security law on Hong Kong, saying it wanted to focus on dialogue with Beijing.

Speaking a day after the National People’s Congress voted in favour of the measure, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said: “The autonomy of Hong Kong has been really weakened by this decision. It jeopardised the autonomy of Hong Kong.”

“We want to stress our relationship with China is based on mutual respect and trust, but this decision [by the NPC] calls this into question.”

The bloc’s foreign ministers expressed “grave concern” about the measure on Friday and discussed the need to revisit EU-China relations at a three-hour meeting on Friday. They also said discussions with Beijing about an investment agreement would continue.

Asked about what the EU would do, Borrell told a press conference: “We will continue discussing, we will continue reaching out to Beijing.

“Our reaction has to be commensurate with the steps that have already been taken.

“We will continue trying to put pressure on the China authorities in order to make them aware that this issue will affect the way we deal with some of the issues of mutual interest. But there is nothing on the agenda.”

Borrell said that sanctions were not a solution and added: “Our union is based on both values and interests. We try to defend our interests and to preserve our values.”

He also said that a planned summit in Germany between China’s president Xi Jinping and EU heads of government should still go ahead.

The issue of Hong Kong “is certainly not going to jeopardise the Leipzig summit. It’s still on the agenda. As long as the pandemic allows for it to take place, it will take place,” said Borrell.

He also dismissed the need for the EU to join the US, UK, Australia and Canada, which have warned Beijing to honour its commitments under the agreement with Britain to return Hong Kong to Chinese rule.

Borrell said: “We have our own statement. We don’t need to join other people’s statements.”

But he said the EU was in the process of “brainstorming” new approaches to China, while upholding last year’s strategic outlook on China, which for the first time described the world’s second biggest economy as a systemic rival.

“It would be a new statement of this kind, a new outlook on China taking into account all the recent developments related to the epidemic, relating to Hong Kong, relating to the need to level the playing field, relating to imbalances in our relations, relating to the internal developments in China, their more assertive diplomacy,” he said.

Borrell said also said the bloc would also consider “internal developments in China [and] their more assertive diplomacy”.


Category: Hong Kong

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