Australian PM Scott Morrison rejects 'terrorism' descriptor, encourages de-escalation

Local | 13 Aug 2019 4:41 pm

The Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said Australians thinking of travel to Hong Kong should monitor the travel advice.

He called for a peaceful resolution to the standoff.

“My view is, one, to seek to de-escalate things – to encourage the chief executive of Hong Kong to be listening carefully to what people are saying in Hong Kong and work towards a peaceful and calm resolution of what is a very, very serious issue,” the prime minister told reporters today.

He also rejected State Council description of protests as "terrorism.''

"Well, that's certainly not the rhetoric that I would certainly use to describe those events,'' he said of the protests.

The State Council's Hong Kong and Macau Affairs Office claimed on Monday that the protests had "begun to show signs of terrorism.''

Qsked about flights being canceled in Hong Kong, Morrison said: "I am concerned like I think anyone is. But the response that you take to any of these difficult situations is always one of calm, always one of measured response, always one of providing practical assistance to our own citizens and residents who are in need of our assistance and we're doing that. And to seek that those who are in authority in Hong Kong, the administration there in Hong Kong, to be able to deal with the matter peacefully and to resolve it in a positive way.''

He said Australia is concerned "particularly because of the number of Australians, residents and citizens that are in Hong Kong both on a long term basis and on a short term basis, it is one of our most busy consulates and so our consular role there at the moment is very heightened and they're very active.

"I mean they were out at the airport just the other day and providing support and assistance to people. And our mission there will continue to do that.''

The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade said consular officials from the consulate general in Hong Kong and Macau were at the airport yesterday to help Australian tourists leave it safely.

The Australian government’s Smartraveller website continued to warn people to exercise a high degree of caution while in Hong Kong.

“Flash mob protests and random attacks on protesters have become less predictable and are expected to continue,” it warned.

“Tourist and residential areas have been affected. There is a high risk of violent confrontation between protesters and police, or criminally linked individuals.”-The Guardian/The Standard

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