China summons US ambassador over Hong Kong bills

A protester holds American flags during a demonstration in Central, the financial district of Hong Kong, Thursday, Nov. 28, 2019. China reacted furiously to President Donald Trump’s signing of two bills on Hong Kong human rights and said the U.S. will bear the unspecified consequences. A foreign ministry statement Thursday repeated heated condemnations of the laws and said China will counteract. It said all the people of Hong Kong and China oppose the move. (AP Photo/Kin Cheung)

China summoned the U.S. ambassador on Thursday to “strongly protest” President Donald Trump’s signing of bills on Hong Kong human rights. Chinese Vice Foreign Minister Le Yucheng told Ambassador Terry Branstad that the move constituted “serious interference in China’s internal affairs and a serious violation of international law,” a Foreign Ministry statement said.

Le called it a “nakedly hegemonic act.” He urged the U.S. to not implement the bills in order to prevent greater damage to U.S.-China relations, it said. China has repeatedly accused the U.S. and other Western countries of orchestrating the mass pro-democracy demonstrations that have roiled Hong Kong for six months.

A foreign ministry statement earlier Thursday repeated heated condemnations of the laws and said China will take unspecified “countermeasures.” It said all people of Hong Kong and China oppose Washington’s move. It’s still unclear how China will respond exactly and if Trump’s decision might disrupt negotiations with Beijing aimed at easing trade tensions.

Trump signed the bills, which were approved last week by near unanimous consent in the House and Senate, even as he expressed some concerns about complicating the effort to work out the trade deal with China’s President Xi Jinping. Recently both sides expressed confidence they were making headway on a preliminary agreement to avert a further escalation in a tariff war that has hammered manufacturers on both sides.

“I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong,” Trump said in a statement. “They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”

Source: Associated Press