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Foreign Policy Analysis

Escalating diplomatic spat between UK and China over Hong Kong

Some of the UK’s most prominent politicians
have expressed support for the demonstrators in Hong Kong, who broke into and vandalized
offices of the Hong Kong government in protest against a now-scrapped proposal to extradite
Hong Kong people to mainland China. These public statements by foreign secretary
Jeremy Hunt, and now Boris Johnson, have sparked a growing row between Beijing and the UK. Hong Yoo reports. Boris Johnson, the former London mayor and
frontrunner in the Tory leadership contest and therefore favorite to become the next
UK prime minister, said he supported the Hong Kong protesters. In an interview with Reuters on Wednesday,
he said he understands why they are skeptical about the controversial extradition bill…
that the protesters are fighting to completely scrap. “Yes I do support them and I will happily
speak up for them and back them every inch of the way. And I would stress to our friends in Beijing
that the one country, two systems approach has worked, is working and should not be cast
aside.” Amid the escalating spat over Hong Kong, which
Britain handed over to China in 1997, Beijing has told the UK to keep its hands off the
territory. On Wednesday, China’s foreign ministry said
it had lodged a diplomatic complaint with London,… denouncing Hunt as “shameless”
for his warning of consequences if Beijing breached the Sino-British declaration. The growing war of words follows a weeks-long
protest over the controversial extradition bill. Marking the 22nd anniversary of Hong Kong’s
handover from Britain to China,… protestors stormed Hong Kong’s legislative council building
on Monday,… vandalizing walls and hanging the old British colonial flag,… before they
were dispersed by riot police. Hong Kong police announced on Wednesday that
they have arrested 12 people involved in the incident for offences such as the possession
of offensive weapons and unlawful assembly. Hong Yoo, Arirang News.

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