China blocks US call for UN Security Council Hong Kong meeting

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NEW YORK (May 28): China blocked a Trump administration effort to hold a United Nations (UN) Security Council meeting on the Beijing government’s proposed national security law on Hong Kong, as relations between the two powers continued to deteriorate.

The US effort to put the Hong Kong issue on the council’s agenda came as the Trump administration said yesterday it could no longer certify Hong Kong’s political autonomy from China, a decision that could trigger sanctions and have far-reaching consequences on the former British colony’s special trading status with the US.

“This is a matter of urgent global concern ​that implicates international peace and security, and warrants the immediate attention of the UN Security Council,” the US Mission said in a statement yesterday announcing the attempt to hold the virtual meeting.

China’s proposed national security law “would threaten Hong Kong’s democratic institutions and civil liberties,” the US Mission said. Such actions confirm China’s “contempt and complete disregard for its international obligations,” it added.

China, one of five veto-wielding Security Council members, accused the US of being “the trouble maker of the world”.

“Legislation on national security for Hong Kong is purely China’s internal affairs,” the Chinese Mission tweeted last night. “It has nothing to do with the mandate of the Security Council.”

While the US and China have been clashing at the UN for years, tensions between the world’s two largest economies have escalated in recent months, fuelled by accusations from US President Donald Trump that China was slow to disclose the peril of Covid-19. Trump has threatened consequences for China over its handling of the pandemic and more recently its steps to assert more control over Hong Kong.

The deepening US-China feud is standing in the way of a Security Council effort to swiftly endorse a 90-day global cease-fire to help countries in conflict deal with the coronavirus pandemic. For weeks, the two nations have been unable to settle on language for a resolution, paralysing the diplomatic body as it attempts to advance Secretary-General Antonio Guterres’s effort to demand an immediate cessation of armed conflict in war zones.

China’s decision to block the meeting “is another example of the Chinese Communist Party’s fear of transparency and international accountability for its actions, and belief that it can exploit the current global health pandemic to distract the world from its intended assault on Hong Kong and abrogation of its own commitments to the Hong Kong people”, the US Mission added.