U.s. Suspends Bilateral Agreements With Hong Kong

As part of the ongoing implementation measures, we informed the Hong Kong authorities on 19 August of the suspension or end of three bilateral agreements. These agreements covered the release of fugitives, the transfer of convicted persons and reciprocal exemptions from income from the international operation of ships. Beijing called on the United States to “immediately correct its mistakes” after denouncing bilateral agreements with Hong Kong. Trump said he wanted to punish China for what he called “oppressive actions” against the city. The legislation punishes from life imprisonment anything China considers secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces, and has drawn criticism from Western countries who fear that the law will end the freedoms promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997. The United States has had to resign itself to China because of its policy in Hong Kong, in part because of its decision to apply a controversial national security law to the autonomous zone, which critics say would serve to break dissent. Hong Kong asserted that the bilateral agreements did not constitute preferential treatment and stated that they had been negotiated on behalf of both parties. In response to Washington`s decision to terminate the agreements, China`s Foreign Ministry said Thursday that Hong Kong would suspend a mutual legal aid agreement with the United States. “The Chinese Communist Party has chosen to dismantle the freedoms and autonomy of the people of Hong Kong,” Secretary of State Mike Pompeo wrote on Twitter.

“As a result of the CCP`s actions, we are halting or suspending three of our bilateral agreements with the territory.” The constant drumming of the actions taken against China is in line with a key element of Trump`s campaign strategy. Political strategists are trying to show the president that it is hard to keep the national dialogue out of its failures in managing the pandemic and the economy. Last month, President Donald Trump also ended Hong Kong`s preferential trade and diplomatic status with the United States. The Hong Kong government said the U.S. decision to terminate the agreements “shows a lack of respect for bilateral and multilateral ism under the current government and should be condemned by the international community.” Trump had previously refused to take a tough stance on China during his tenure. Beyond the outbreak of a trade war with the country in 2018, he has repeatedly praised China`s head of state, Xi Jinping, going so far as to ask Xi for help in his re-election efforts. The end of the agreements follows the United States.

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