The British Foreign Minister, Jeremy Hunt, said on Thursday that China could face "serious consequences" for the treatment given to the protesters of the protests in Hong Kong, amid a diplomatic dispute between the two countries.
Speaking to the BBC, Hunt today alluded to the response of the Asian country to the takeover of the Parliament of Hong Kong on Monday by a group of activists to protest a controversial bill on extradition.
The conservative politician – one of the aspirants to succeed Theresa May in front of the Executive along with Boris Johnson – affirmed that he "condemns all violence" while urging the Chinese government not to respond to the protests "through repression."
His statements come after the authorities of that country yesterday asked the Executive of London to "not interfere in their internal affairs."
Hunt reminded China that it must honor the relative autonomy enjoyed by Hong Kong against Beijing and assured that "the United Kingdom takes this situation very, very seriously."
China's ambassador to the United Kingdom, Liu Xiaoming, yesterday asked China not to meddle in its domestic policy, recalling that Hong Kong is no longer a British colony.
He also considered that relations between China and the United Kingdom have been "damaged" by Hunt's comments in support of the protesters in Hong Kong, which was a British colony for more than 150 years and returned to China in 1997.
The diplomat said it is "hypocritical" that British politicians now criticize the lack of democracy and civil rights in Hong Kong when, under his rule, there were no elections or right to demonstrate.
In the midst of this inter-country dispute, the British Foreign Minister maintains that London has the right to defend a treaty it signed with China in 1984, in order to guarantee the freedoms and relative autonomy of Hong Kong, against China.
"I do not think it's a big surprise that China reacted in that way, but they have to understand that the United Kingdom is a country that honors its international obligations," Hunt told BBC Radio 4.
He insisted that the two countries "signed an agreement in 1984, which lasts 50 years" and said he hoped that "all parties will honor" that treaty.
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