White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien on Sunday announced the U.S will likely impose sanctions on China, if Beijing implements its new national security laws on Hong Kong to strengthen its grip on the city.
According to O'Brien, the draft legislation represents a takeover of Hong Kong, and as a consequence U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo would likely be unable to certify that the city maintains a "high degree" of autonomy.
"And I don't think that's gonna be under the current circumstances, especially if the law is passed it's hard to see how Secretary Pompeo could make that certification. If he fails to make that certification, there are consequences that come with it. Sanctions and others."
This comes as a draft decision was made last Friday on “establishing and improving the legal system and enforcement mechanisms” for Hong Kong at China's parliament.
A document which explains the decision says the "one-country, two systems" principle achieved unprecedented success in Hong Kong,but the “increasingly notable national security risks” in the city “have become a prominent problem.”
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi on Sunday defended Beijing's move, and warned against any foreign interference .
Wang insists Hong Kong affairs are an internal matter for China, and "no external interference will be tolerated."
Despite the COVID-19 pandemic, thousands of citizens in Hong Kong took to the streets on Sunday to protest China's power grab.
Protesters crowded around Causeway Bay, Hong Kong's shopping district, ignoring police warnings about social distancing regulations, leading to at least 180 arrests.
Watchers say Hong Kong's first large-scale protest since the outbreak, underscores the depth of many residents' outrage and fear of Beijing's push for the national security law, with many more protests expected in the weeks to come.
Lee Seung-jae, Arirang News.