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UK breaching pledge, international law: China

2020-07-02 HKT 11:00
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  • The Chinese embassy in London says British foreign minister's announcement of a new immigration path to millions of Hongkongers is a breach of its pledge. Photo: Reuters
    The Chinese embassy in London says British foreign minister's announcement of a new immigration path to millions of Hongkongers is a breach of its pledge. Photo: Reuters
The Chinese Embassy in the UK has accused London of breaching its pledge and international law by offering an immigration path to millions of Hongkongers who are eligible for the British National Overseas passport.

A spokesperson from the embassy said Britain had promised that it will not confer the right of abode to Hong Kong's BNO passport holders, and it will breach its pledge, international law, and basic norms on international relations if it changes the policy.

It also said China will reserve the right to take corresponding measures.

The embassy urged Britain not to interfere in Hong Kong affairs, and view the national security law objectively and fairly.

Britain has announced that those with BNO status – and their dependants here – would be allowed to work or study in UK on a five-year visa. They can then apply to get citizenship 12 months later.

"I can now confirm we will proceed to honour our commitment to change the arrangements for those holding BNO status," Foreign Minister Dominic Raab had said.

Britain says it is standing by its word and living up to its responsibilities to the people of Hong Kong under the Sino-British Joint Declaration.

Earlier UK media reports had said the Chinese ambassador was summoned by the British government over the enactment of the new law.

The mainland media reported that during a meeting with British officials, the ambassador, Liu Xiaoming, hit out at "irresponsible and unwarranted" comments on the security law.

The report said Liu told the UK's under-secretary to the foreign office, Simon McDonald, that the law was the fundamental solution to restore order in Hong Kong.

It also quoted Liu as saying there was not a single word in the Sino-British Joint Declaration that gave the UK any responsibility over Hong Kong after the 1997 handover.

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Last updated: 2020-07-02 HKT 12:45