China has urged the UK to refrain from meddling in the “internal issue” of Hong Kong, Chinese state-run media said on Tuesday.

According to Xinhua news agency, during a phone conversation with British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “Hong Kong affairs are purely China’s internal affairs and no outside interference is allowed.”

Wang, according to the news agency, said maintaining national security in Hong Kong concerns China’s core interests, thereby a major issue of principle that must be adhered to.

Defending the Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong, the Chinese Foreign Minister said due to serious threat to the national security in Hong Kong, the National People’s Congress (NPC) last month introduced new national security legislation which will “help to fill the obvious loopholes and long-term deficiencies” in Hong Kong.

“The legislation will better ensure various rights and freedom of Hong Kong citizens, and also make all law-abiding foreigners feel more at ease working and living in Hong Kong while the current capitalist system in Hong Kong will not change, nor will its rights to a high degree of autonomy enjoyed under the Basic Law, or the way of life of the Hong Kong citizens ,” Wang explained.

“China and Britain, as two major countries with global influence, share the common responsibility of safeguarding world peace and development,” said Wang.

For his part, British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab assured his Chinese counterpart that his country is committed to developing a strong bilateral relationship with China.

“Within the framework of a mature Britain-China relationship, the two sides can have a candid exchange of views on any topics,” the agency quoted Raab as saying.

On May 28, the UK, Australia, Canada and the US expressed “deep concern” on Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.

“Direct imposition of national security legislation on Hong Kong by the Beijing authorities, rather than through Hong Kong’s own institutions as provided for under Article 23 of the Basic Law, would curtail the Hong Kong people’s liberties, and in doing so, dramatically erode Hong Kong’s autonomy and the system that made it so prosperous,” the four countries said in a joint statement.

Last month the National People’s Congress, China’s top legislative body, passed a new national security law for Hong Kong set to rein in the semi-autonomous region after months of protests last year.

Hong Kong, a semi-autonomous region under China since 1997, last year witnessed protests against the move to legalize extradition to mainland China.

*Writing by Islamuddin Sajid

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