A senior White House adviser again warned on Sunday that the US could revoke Hong Kong's special trade privileges if China passed a stringent new security law for the territory.
National security adviser Robert O & # 39; Brien's warning came amid growing tensions between Washington and Beijing and just hours after China's Foreign Minister Wang Yi warned that the two countries appeared to be "on the verge of a new Cold War."
Regarding Beijing's 1984 agreement to grant Hong Kong, a former British colony, significant autonomy until 2047, O & # 39; Brien told CBS's "Face the Nation" that "it looks like they are violating this agreement." ".
"I can't see how Hong Kong remains an Asian financial center when the Chinese Communist Party implements its national security law and takes over Hong Kong," he said.
"That would be a tragedy for the people of Hong Kong and also very bad for China."
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the proposed law, which China's stamp legislators are likely to respond to quickly, would be "a death blow to the high level of autonomy Beijing has promised Hong Kong".
He said China's continued respect for Hong Kong's democratic institutions and civil liberties was "the key to maintaining its special status under US law."
Washington and Beijing have also fought sharply over the blame for the coronavirus pandemic and the role of the World Health Organization.
According to a U.S. law passed last year, the Secretary of State must certify every year that Hong Kong remains largely autonomous. Otherwise, there is a risk that the territory will lose trading privileges that the Chinese mainland does not enjoy.
The new Chinese law would force punishment for "subversion, treachery, and turmoil" in the city, which would allow Beijing to take action against protesters and dissidents.
Hong Kong was hit by massive and occasionally violent protests for democracy last year, and thousands gathered there on Sunday to protest the proposed law and face the police.
Hong Kong residents enjoy rights – including freedom of speech – that are not seen on the mainland, and the city has its own legal system and trading status.
(Except for the headline, this story was not edited by NDTV staff and published from a syndicated feed.)