Australia to offer 'safe haven' to Hongkongers soon - RTHK
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Australia to offer 'safe haven' to Hongkongers soon

2020-07-02 HKT 11:21
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  • Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Australian cabinet would soon consider plans to welcome in Hong Kong residents. Photo: Reuters
    Prime Minister Scott Morrison says the Australian cabinet would soon consider plans to welcome in Hong Kong residents. Photo: Reuters
Australia said on Thursday that it is actively considering providing safe haven to Hong Kong residents in response to Beijing’s sweeping new security law.

Prime Minister Scott Morrison said the situation in Hong Kong was "very concerning" and his government was "very actively" considering proposals to welcome in residents of Hong Kong.

Asked by a reporter whether Australia could extend an offer of safe haven, Morrison responded "yes."

He said the measures would soon be considered by his Cabinet, hinting strongly that it would be approved.

"We think that's important and very consistent with who we are as a people." 

It comes a day after the United Kingdom announced a new route for those with British National Overseas status and their families to move there and eventually apply for citizenship.

Morrison said no final decision had been made on how Australia's arrangements would be structured, but the country was "prepared to step up and provide support" to Hong Kong residents.

Any offer is sure to further strain Canberra's relationship with Beijing, coming after repeated clashes between the two sides.

Most recently, Australia enraged China by calling for an independent investigation into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic.

Canberra has also pushed back against what it describes as China's economic "coercion", covert influence campaigns and the use of technology companies like Huawei as a tool for intelligence-gathering and geopolitical leverage. 

China has warned its students and tourists against going to Australia, slapped trade sanctions on Australian goods and sentenced an Australian citizen to death for drug trafficking.