UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson and U.S. President Donald Trump both indicated on May 29 that the Chinese regime is eroding Hong Kong’s autonomy by imposing a so-called “national security law” on the city.
In addition, the United Kingdom announced it will extend visa rights for Hong Kong British national (overseas) passport holders.
On May 29, the UK government published a press release after Johnson spoke with Trump. The announcement said: “The leaders said that China’s plan to impose national security legislation on Hong Kong goes against their obligations under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and would undermine Hong Kong’s autonomy and the One Country Two Systems framework.
Moreover, the UK will extend visa rights for as many as 300,000 Hong Kong British National (Overseas) passport holders if China continues to impose repressive security laws on the former British colony, The Guardian reported on May 28. The UK would extend the BN(O) passport holders’ current right to visit for six months without a visa to an extendable 12 months, leading to a pathway for future citizenship, Foreign Secretary Domonic Raab said. It is estimated that about 2.9 million people can apply for BN(O) passports in Hong Kong, and 350,000 Hong Kong people currently hold such passports.
The UK Foreign Secretary, Dominic Raab, explained: “In relation to BN(O) passport holders, currently they only have the right to come to the UK for six months. If China continues down this path and implements this national security legislation, we will change that status. And we will remove that six-month limit and allow those BNO passport holders to come to the UK and to apply to work and study for extendable periods of 12 months and that will itself provide a pathway to future citizenship.”
In the phone call, Johnson and Trump also discussed the importance of leaders meeting in the United States for the G7 Summit which will be held at the end of June.
Both leaders also mentioned the issue of telecommunications security.
According to The Sunday Times, Britain is seeking to forge an alliance of ten democracies to create alternative suppliers of 5G equipment and other technologies to avoid relying on China. The government has approached Washington about a “D10” club of democratic partners, based on the G7 plus Australia, South Korea, and India.
Other countries such as Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the EU have expressed their concerns and criticized Beijing’s security law for Hong Kong.