Beijing curbs US navy visits, targets American NGOs - RTHK
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Beijing curbs US navy visits, targets American NGOs

2019-12-02 HKT 16:20
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  • Beijing curbs US navy visits, targets American NGOs
Priscilla Ng reports
Beijing suspended US warship visits to Hong Kong and sanctioned American NGOs on Monday in retaliation for the passage of a bill backing the SAR's pro-democracy protesters.

"In response to the unreasonable behaviour of the US side, the Chinese government has decided to suspend reviewing the applications for US warships to go to Hong Kong for (rest and) recuperation as of today," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said at a regular press briefing.

China had already denied requests for two US Navy ships to dock in Hong Kong in August, without specifying a reason why.

"Operationally, from a military point of view, it doesn't really make a difference for the US, as they can use many naval bases in the region," said Michael Raska, a security researcher at Singapore's Nanyang Technological University.

However, it "sends a signal that US-China tensions will continue to deepen," Raska said.

The last US navy ship to visit Hong Kong was the USS Blue Ridge in April.

J. Michael Cole, a Taipei-based senior fellow with the Global Taiwan Institute, said the move was "mostly symbolic" but yet another sign of the "tit-for-tat escalation which is poisoning the bilateral relationship."

Hua said Beijing would also apply sanctions to a number of US-based NGOs, although failed to give any specifics over the form the measures would take.

Sanctions will apply to NGOs that had acted "badly" over the recent unrest in Hong Kong, she said, including the National Endowment for Democracy, Human Rights Watch and Freedom House.

There was "already a large amount of facts and evidence that make it clear that these non-governmental organisations support anti-China" forces and "incite separatist activities for Hong Kong independence", Hua said.

She accused them of having "great responsibility for the chaotic situation in Hong Kong". (AFP)