Selin ATAY-TDO- Hong Kong has warned the United States stands to lose just as much or even more by suspending three bilateral treaties on the extradition of fugitives and sentenced criminals along with tax exemptions for the shipping industry.
In a “severe reprimand” issued by the government on Thursday, it is said that treaties were not a question of “preferential treatment for Hong Kong”, as characterised by U.S. President Donald Trump’s administration in punitive action over Beijing’s imposition of the new national security law on the city.
“They are bilateral agreements negotiated in good faith to benefit the peoples and businesses of both sides in areas of law and order, shipping and tax treatment. The US’ unilateral decision reflects its disrespect for bilateralism and multilateralism under the current administration and should be condemned by the international community.”
Zhao Lijian, China’s foreign ministry spokesman, voiced Beijing’s support for Hong Kong’s strongly worded response. Spokesman Zhao Lijian said his country had also suspended Hong Kong’s agreement with the US on mutual legal assistance in criminal matters in retaliation for Washington’s “erroneous move”.
“The move by the US does not only smack of political manipulation and double standards, but is also gross interference in China’s internal affairs and a grave violation of international law and basic norms governing international relations.” The Hong Kong government said.
The U.S. State Department on Wednesday suspended the agreements on the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions for shipping companies.
U.S. allies Australia, Canada, New Zealand, Germany, France and Britain have also suspended their extradition agreements with Hong Kong in recent weeks.