China fires back after Trump's 'powerful' vow

Top News | Agencies and staff reporter 28 May 2020

China will take necessary countermeasures against foreign interference on the new national security legislation for Hong Kong, says the foreign ministry.

Spokesman Zhao Lijian made the remarks yesterday during a daily briefing following US President Donald Trump's comments that Washington is working on a strong response to the security law.

Zhao said the legislation is China's internal matter and the government is determined to defend its national sovereignty and one country, two systems.

China will take any necessary countermeasures against attempts to harm the country's interest, Zhao said.

At the White House, Trump was asked if he planned sanctions against China over Hong Kong and if he intended to put restrictions on visas for students and researchers from the mainland.

Trump said: "We're doing something now. I think you'll find it very interesting I'll be talking about it over the next couple of days."

Pressed if this include sanctions, he said: "No it's something you're going to be hearing about before the end of the week, very powerfully I think."

Trump did not elaborate, but earlier White House spokeswoman Kayleigh McEnany said he was displeased by the proposed security law and found it "hard to see how Hong Kong can remain a financial hub if China takes over."

Asked if this might mean an end to special economic treatment Washington affords to Hong Kong that has enabled it to maintain its position as a global financial center, McEnany said she had nothing to announce as to the precise response.

If the State Department decertifies the territory, it would fall to Trump whether to decide to end some, all or none of the privileges Hong Kong currently enjoys.

The United States is considering a range of sanctions.

The Treasury Department could impose controls on transactions and freeze assets of Chinese officials and businesses for implementing the security law.

Other measures under consideration include visa restrictions for Communist Party officials, according to two sources. Interagency discussions are ongoing and no decision has been made on whether or how to employ the sanctions, they added.

Japan's Chief Cabinet Secretary Yoshihide Suga, meanwhile, said the country is strongly concerned about the situation in Hong Kong.

European Union member states' foreign ministers will meet tomorrow, during which they will discuss the Hong Kong issue.

Demosisto secretary general Joshua Wong Chi-fung said the latest development shows that the activists' call for the international community to penalize China due to its action is not far-fetched.

The proposed security law has made countries realize Hong Kong is no longer an international financial center but a Greater Bay Area city, he said.

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