Amid moves to take the issue to the UN, US President Donald Trump at a Friday press conference is expected to speak out on China’s controversial new security law for Hong Kong.
According to diplomatic sources, the US and UK want the UN Security Council to meet informally behind closed doors on Friday to discuss the escalating situation in the semi-autonomous region.
On Thursday, a bipartisan group of US senators called for an “immediate” meeting of the Security Council hours after China passed the law.
In a letter to the current and incoming president of the council, key members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee including Bob Menendez, Cory Gardner, Ed Markey, and Marco Rubio asked for an immediate gathering of 15 member nations.
The senators urged an immediate Security Council meeting “on recent actions taken by the Chinese government to undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and infringe on the rights and freedoms promised to the Hong Kong people.”
However, China – one of the Security Council’s five permanent members – lost no time running interference, urging Washington to stop what it called US “power politics and bullying practices.”
“China categorically rejects the baseless request of the US for a Security Council meeting. Legislation on national security for Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affairs. It has nothing to do with the mandate of the Security Council,” China’s Ambassador to the UN Zhang Jun wrote on Twitter.
Along with the US, the UK, Australia, and Canada have also expressed “deep concern” about Beijing’s new security law.
In a joint statement signed by British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, Canadian Foreign Minister Francois-Philippe Champagne, and US Secretary of State Michael Pompeo, the four countries responded to China’s decision.
On Thursday, the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, formally passed the Hong Kong security legislation.
Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region under China since 1997, last year witnessed months of protests against a move to legalize extradition to mainland China.
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