LONDON/BEIJING • China threatened a “forceful counter-attack” yesterday as Britain suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong after Beijing’s introduction of a national security law for the former British colony.
“China will make a forceful counter-attack to the UK’s wrong actions,” said Foreign Ministry spokesman Wang Wenbin.
“China urges the UK to give up its fantasies of continuing colonial influence in Hong Kong and immediately correct its mistakes,” he said, adding that London’s moves violated international law and norms.
A statement on the website of the Chinese Embassy in Britain said “the UK side has gone even further down the wrong road”.
“China urges the UK side to immediately stop interfering in Hong Kong affairs, which are China’s internal affairs,” it said. “The UK will bear the consequences if it insists on going down the wrong road.”
British Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab told Parliament on Monday the extradition treaty would be suspended immediately and an arms embargo would be extended to Hong Kong.
“We will not consider re-activating those arrangements, unless and until there are clear and robust safeguards, which are able to prevent extradition from the UK being misused under the new national security legislation,” Mr Raab said.
The decision puts Sino-British ties under further strain, days after Britain issued orders to remove all Huawei 5G equipment from its networks, and as British politicians criticise Beijing for its treatment of ethnic minorities.
Britain’s extradition treaty suspension comes after similar action against China by the United States, Canada and Australia.
REUTERS, AGENCE FRANCE-PRESSE