EU says it's preparing measures against China over Hong Kong

By Robin Emmott BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is preparing countermeasures on China in response to Beijing's new security law on Hong Kong, the EU's top diplomat said on Monday, but envoys stressed the likely steps will not amount to economic sanctions.

Reuters July 14, 2020 00:14:56 IST
EU says it's preparing measures against China over Hong Kong

EU says its preparing measures against China over Hong Kong

By Robin Emmott

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - The European Union is preparing countermeasures on China in response to Beijing's new security law on Hong Kong, the EU's top diplomat said on Monday, but envoys stressed the likely steps will not amount to economic sanctions.

Diplomats said there was broad support among EU member states for some action but tough measures were not being discussed in detail because of resistance from China's closest trade partners in Europe, such as Hungary and Greece.

Like much of the West, the EU has denounced the decision by China's parliament to pass national security legislation for the ex-British colony of Hong Kong despite an international outcry.

While European Commission President Ursula von der Leyen last month warned of "very negative consequences" for Beijing, EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell detailed lighter measures after a meeting of the bloc's foreign ministers in Brussels.

"We have agreed today to develop a coordinated European Union response to show support for Hong Kong's autonomy and civil society," Borrell told a news conference after the meeting.

"This will comprise measures both at the European Union level and also measures falling on the member states national competencies in a coordinated approach," Borrell said.

He said nothing specific had been decided but that EU foreign ministers had discussed extending the EU's export ban on "sensitive technology" to Hong Kong.

Borrell was referring to any equipment or software that could be used for suppressing protests aimed at preserving Hong Kong's autonomy granted under terms of its handover back to China by Britain in 1997.

EU governments could also review their extradition agreements with Hong Kong authorities, review travel advice, increase scholarships for Hong Kong students and offer more visas to Hong Kongers, Borrell said.

Borrell said EU governments could announce national steps separately, but the 27-nation bloc viewed its response as a package to be defined and made reality "in the coming days".

Finland said it supported the idea of suspending extradition treaties with Hong Kong since the new security law meant detainees could be transferred to mainland China - where courts are controlled by the ruling Communist Party.

Earlier on Monday, Sweden publicly endorsed the measures first proposed by France and Germany and also supported by Denmark and the Netherlands.

(Reporting by Robin Emmott; Editing by Mark Heinrich)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.