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Britain going down 'wrong path' over Hong Kong, says China

10:50 | 21/07/2020

China warned on Monday (July 20) that Britain was heading down "a wrong path" as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was expected to announce the suspension of an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, raising tensions between the countries.

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britain going down wrong path over hong kong says china
London and Beijing have been at loggerheads since China passed a controversial new security law for the former British colony of Hong Kong. Photo: AFP/John D McHugh

China warned on Monday that Britain was heading down "a wrong path" as Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab was expected to announce the suspension of an extradition treaty with Hong Kong, raising tensions between the countries, reported AFP.

Wang Wenbin, spokesman for China's foreign ministry, told a regular press briefing that Beijing would "firmly counter" any interference in its internal affairs, also slamming suggestions it was mistreating minorities in Xinjiang as "slander".

"We urge the UK not to go further down this wrong path, in order to avoid further damage to China-UK relations," Wang said.

"Recent erroneous remarks and measures concerning Hong Kong have seriously violated international law and basic norms governing international relations... China strongly condemns this and firmly opposes it".

britain going down wrong path over hong kong says china
Wang Wenbin: ‘We urge the UK to take no more steps down the wrong path, so as to avoid further damage to China-UK relations.’ Photo: Tingshu Wang/Reuters

Mr Raab raised his concern that the extradition treaty with Hong Kong was being suspended 'immediately and indefinitely' because of concerns that the new national security law could allow cases to be transferred to mainland China.

The extradition treaty means that, if someone in Hong Kong is suspected of a crime in the UK, the British authorities can ask Hong Kong to hand them over to face justice – and vice versa.

A new security law imposed by China on Hong Kong last month has drawn widespread criticism in Britain and elsewhere, and Raab is due later Monday to announce a package of measures similar to those already introduced by the United States, Canada and Australia.

Tensions between the UK and China have soared over a number of topics recently, commented SCMP.

Britain recently bowed to sustained pressure from Washington and ordered the phased removal of Chinese telecoms giant Huawei from its 5G network despite warnings of retaliation from Beijing.

britain going down wrong path over hong kong says china
Mr Raab told MPs yesterday the extradition treaty with Hong Kong was being suspended 'immediately and indefinitely' because of concerns that the new national security law could allow cases to be transferred to mainland China. Photo: AFP

Amid the diplomatic firestorm, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo flew to Britain on July 20. He will meet Boris Johnson and Mr Raab today, with the subject of China expected to dominate the discussions, reported Daily Mail.

US sources said they will discuss ways to 'deal with' Beijing, including its 'aggression' in the South China Sea.

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Tony Nguyen

AFP, SCMP, Daily Mail