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China slams US-Taiwan arms deal, ‘safe haven’ for Hong Kongers

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This undated photo shows Wu Qian, spokesperson for China's Ministry of National Defense, briefing the press in Beijing. CHINA DAILY

China slams US-Taiwan arms deal, ‘safe haven’ for Hong Kongers

The communist Party of China’s military arm staunchly opposes the US state department’s approval of a $750 million weapons package sale to Taiwan on August 5, and will take all measures necessary to safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity, the defence ministry said on August 6.

And on the same day, the US was again urged to stop “playing political tricks” by meddling in Hong Kong legal affairs.

The arms sale would be the Biden administration’s first to the island, which includes 40 howitzer artillery systems along with 1,698 precision guidance kits for munitions, training and upgrades.

Ministry spokesman Senior Colonel Wu Qian asserted that the action ignores international law and basic principles of international relations, and seriously violates the one-China policy and the three Sino-US joint communiques.

“It is a brazen interference in China’s domestic affairs, undermines China’s sovereignty and security interests, sends the wrong signal to Taiwan separatist forces, and damages security and stability in the Taiwan Straits region,” Wu said.

“China has expressed its strong discontent and resolute opposition … The People’s Liberation Army [PLA] has the will, determination and capability to resolutely thwart any foreign interference and secessionist attempts by Taiwan separatists,” Wu added. “The PLA will take all measures necessary to adamantly safeguard national sovereignty and territorial integrity.”

Meanwhile, the foreign ministry’s commissioner’s office in Hong Kong and the Special Administrative Region’s (SAR) government on August 6 voiced opposition to Washington’s self-proclaimed “safe haven” offer to Hong Kong residents.

Biden on August 5 signed a memorandum that allowed Hong Kong residents already in the US to stay for up to 18 months. The White House said the decision was made in response to the Hong Kong National Security Law (HKNSL) and to the “crackdown” on the city’s opposition camp.

A spokesperson for the commissioner’s office in a statement said the US decision reflects its hypocrisy as it turns a blind eye to the facts and mainstream opinion in Hong Kong, the spokesperson said.

According to China Daily staff reporter Gang Wen, those facts include that the HKNSL only targets a small number of “anti-China, destabilising forces” in the SAR who “seriously endangered” national security and the city’s stability.

By late last month, 138 people had been arrested on suspicion of endangering national security, 76 of whom were later prosecuted, Gang said. The city has more than 7.56 million people.

Other facts overlooked by the US include a “more stable society” and “lower crime rates” brought about by the HKNSL along with “electoral system improvements”, according to Gang.

The spokesperson said the legislation “further optimises the rule of law” and “protects the legitimate rights” of people living in the city, and claimed that the US “tricks”, including talking down to the Hong Kong SAR and stigmatising Beijing, revealed its ulterior motives to curb China’s development by playing the “Hong Kong card”.

The office urged the US to “drop the illusion” about containing China and put an end to such “shameful political manipulations”.

In a separate statement, a Hong Kong government spokesperson also rebutted the US claim that the HKNSL was used to crack down on dissidents, adding that the smear was “baseless and purely politically motivated”.

“Any law enforcement actions taken by Hong Kong law enforcement agencies are based on evidence, strictly according to the law, based on the acts of the persons or entities concerned, and have nothing to do with their political stance, background or occupation,” the government statement read. “The Hong Kong government will pursue ... legal liabilities in accordance with the law to ensure fugitive offenders face justice.”

Before granting the 18-month arrangement, the US last month imposed a round of sanctions on central government officials in Hong Kong and warned US enterprises there of the city’s “deteriorating business environment”.



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