The Hong Kong government condemned the US decision to rescind and suspend three bilateral agreements in response to a national security law imposed by Beijing.
“The Government of the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region strongly regrets and rejects the action of the United States, widely seen as a measure to create problems in relations between China and the United States using Hong Kong as a pawn,” said a spokesman for the Executive Hong Kong.
The spokesman noted that the US administration’s decision “reflects its lack of respect for bilateralism and multilateralism and should be condemned by the international community.”
The US State Department notified on August 19 the suspension and termination of three bilateral agreements with Hong Kong: on the extradition of fugitive offenders, on the transfer of convicts, and on the reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international ship operation.
On an earlier decision announced by Washington that Hong Kong products exported to the US bear the “made in China” mark, the spokesman said the Executive will appeal to the World Trade Organization (WTO) to activate dispute settlement mechanisms.
“The new US rule on origin marking of Hong Kong products ignores Hong Kong’s status as an autonomous member of the WTO and violates WTO rules,” he said.
China enacted a national security law for Hong Kong in late June, which criminalizes acts of subversion, terrorism, secession, conspiracy with foreign influence and others that threaten the security of the territory.
Opponents of the law in Hong Kong and the West attribute it to Beijing’s desire to tighten control over the autonomous region.
The United States imposed sanctions on Chinese officials and removed preferential treatment to Hong Kong in retaliation for what it calls Beijing’s usurpation of Hong Kong autonomy.
China rejects any criticism of the new security law and maintains that Hong Kong issues are its internal business.