On Tuesday, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, Canadian Foreign Minister François-Philippe Champagne, Australian Foreign Minister Marise Payne, New Zealand Foreign Minister Winston Peters, and United Kingdom Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab held a conference to call to discuss “urgent global challenges,” including last week’s decision by China’s National People’s Congress to pursue national security legislation for Hong Kong.
“Great conversation with my Australian, Canadian, New Zealand, and UK counterparts. Together we are addressing the CCP’s erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy and pushing for transparency on COVID-19,” Pompeo said in a tweet after the call. “We remain focused on addressing Iran’s destabilizing behavior in Iraq and the region,” he added.
In an official readout, the U.S. Department of State’s spokesperson said the senior officials from the five anglophone countries also discussed “coordination to maintain supply chains for PPE and medical equipment and our joint efforts to control the export of sensitive technology.”
The five countries are close partners and also comprise the “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing arrangement. Last week, following the Chinese National People’s Congress vote on the draft decision on the national security law, the governments of the U.S., Australia, Canada, and the UK released a joint statement stating “deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.”
“China’s decision to impose a new national security law on Hong Kong lies in direct conflict with its international obligations under the principles of the legally-binding, UN-registered Sino-British Joint Declaration,” that joint statement noted. New Zealand did not sign onto the statement.
On Friday, U.S. President Donald Trump announced measures to begin modifying Hong Kong’s special status as a result of the NPC’s decision.“Any words and deeds from the United States that harm the interests of China will be resolutely counterattacked by the Chinese side,” Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, said after Trump’s announcement. “The United States’ attempt to obstruct China’s development and growth is doomed to fail.”
British Foreign Minister Dominic Raab described the proposed Chinese national security law as “authoritarian.” The proposed law, which is expected to be implemented later this summer, has sparked protests in Hong Kong. “There is time for China to reconsider, there is a moment for China to step back from the brink and respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and respect China’s own international obligations,” Raab told the British parliament on Tuesday.
Hong Kong was handed over to China by the UK in 1997. Under the terms of the handover, Beijing was meant to assure a high level of autonomy for the territory through 2047 under a “one country, two systems” rubric.