While the US has vowed “powerful action” against Beijing over its handling of the unrest in Hong Kong, the EU has made it clear that sanctions are not the way to resolve tensions over the national security legislation.
“I don’t think that sanctions are the way to solve problems in China,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell said during a press briefing on Friday. All members of the bloc bar one have brushed aside the prospect of sanctions being imposed on Beijing, he said.
Likewise, Brussels won’t put its dealings with Beijing on hold, and the 2020 EU-China summit – which has been postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic – is still set to take place, Borrell confirmed.
His previous statement, however, blasted China for adopting national security legislation specifically calling to protect law and order in the former British colony against acts of secession and foreign interference. This decision “further calls into question China’s will to uphold its international commitments,” the short publication reads.
The EU claimed that it also runs contrary to the Sino-British arrangements that paved way for Hong Kong being incorporated into China in exchange for allowing it to retain much of its legislative and executive autonomy.
Still, the EU didn’t tease any repercussions, aside from raising the issue “in our continuing dialogue with China.” US President Donald Trump has threatened some unspecified “interesting and powerful” action aimed at Beijing.
The national security bill was passed by Chinese legislators earlier this week amid renewed protests in Hong Kong, with demonstrators arguing that Beijing is further infringing on Hong Kong’s special status under the ‘one country, two systems’ scheme. Expected to become law in August and yet to be signed by the country’s leadership, the details of the bill are currently unknown. It is believed that it will introduce harsher punishments for things like insulting China’s national symbols, attempting to break away from the country, and using violence to intimidate people in order to further a political cause.
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