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Wang Yi: Hope the United Kingdom (UK) Will Respect China's Legitimate Rights to Safeguard National Security in Hong Kong

2020/06/09

On June 8, 2020, State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi spoke on the phone at request with Dominic Raab, First Secretary of State and Secretary of State for Foreign and Commonwealth Affairs of the United Kingdom (UK).

Wang Yi said, China and the UK, as two major countries with global influence, share the common responsibility of safeguarding world peace and development. Strengthening mutually-beneficial cooperation in a wide range of fields between the two sides is in the fundamental and long-term interests of the two peoples. At the moment, international peace and strategic stability are disrupted and damaged by unilateralism. The two countries shoulder the responsibility of upholding high multilateralism and jointly safeguarding the international system with the United Nations at its core and the international order based on international law.

Wang Yi noted, Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs and brook no outside interference. Maintaining national security in Hong Kong concerns China's core interests, thereby a major issue of principle that must be adhered to. The central government is responsible for upholding national security in China, as is the case in any other country. While the central government authorizes the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region to enact laws on its own to safeguard national security through Article 23 of the Basic Law, it does not change the fact that safeguarding national security is within the purview of the central authorities. Faced with the actual harm and serious threat to the national security in Hong Kong, the National People's Congress (NPC) has decisively introduced new national security legislation for application in Hong Kong, which will help fill the obvious loopholes and long-term deficiencies in such area for Hong Kong as soon as possible. Such a move is reasonable, legal and imperative.

Wang Yi stressed, the national security legislation for Hong Kong aims to better implement "one country, two systems." Article 1 of the decision passed by the NPC makes clearly that the principles of "one country, two systems," "Hong Kong people governing Hong Kong" and a high degree of autonomy will be fully and faithfully honored. This is another solemn commitment made by China's highest organ of state power to uphold the principle of "one country, two systems" in the highest legal form of NPC legislation. China will never accept the groundless accusation that the national security legislation will change "one country, two systems."

Wang Yi expressed, the national security legislation for Hong Kong targets a very small number of "Hong Kong independence" separatists and violent elements, and 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. 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. The national security legislation will only improve Hong Kong's legal system, social order and business environment. The national security legislation is a litmus test. If one expects lasting peace and stability in Hong Kong, they should support rather than worrying about the legislation; If one wants "one country, two systems" to go a long way, they should support rather than opposing the legislation.

Wang Yi said, both as permanent members of the United Nations Security Council, China and the UK should set an example in abiding by the basic norms of international relations and not interfering in other countries' internal affairs. Looking back on the history of China-UK relations, the Chinese side has never interfered in the UK's internal affairs and has never pointed a finger at the UK's domestic affairs. Meanwhile, the Chinese side hopes that the UK will respect the Constitution of the People's Republic of China and the Basic Law enacted in accordance with the Constitution, respect China's legitimate right to safeguard national security on its territory, and respect the Chinese central government's administration of Hong Kong under the principle of "one country, two systems." The UK side must adopt a cautious attitude on this affair.

Dominic Raab expressed, the UK side is committed to developing a strong bilateral relationship with China. It is believed that after the COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides will embrace broad space for cooperation and further strengthen cooperation on major international and regional issues including climate change and Iran's nuclear issue. Within the framework of a mature UK-China relationship, the two sides can have a candid exchange of views on any topics. The UK side is willing to deliberate on the contents of today's in-depth exchanges, and continue to communicate with the Chinese side in the spirit of mutual respect.

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