UK may snap extradition treaty with Hong Kong: Foreign secretary

The UK has stepped up its criticism of Beijing and Moscow as it seeks to establish a place for itself in the world after Brexit
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab (pictured) signaled the UK will join its international allies in suspending an extradition treaty with Hong Kong after China imposed a national security law on the former British province.

Raab told Sky News on Sunday he would update Parliament on Monday on the UK’s extradition arrangements with Hong Kong, less than a week after the nation banned the Chinese telecommunications company Huawei Technologies as a long-term supplier for its 5G networks over concerns about the security of its infrastructure. Raab also cited China’s “egregious human-rights abuses” of the country’s Uighur minority.

Raab said he had promised on July 1 to conduct a review of the extradition arrangements and, having completed that study, will update members of Parliament. Canada and Australia have already suspended extradition agreements with Hong Kong, while the US and New Zealand are reviewing their arrangements. Those countries make up the so-called “Five Eyes” intelligence-sharing nations.

The UK has stepped up its criticism of Beijing and Moscow as it seeks to establish a place for itself in the world after Brexit. On Tuesday, Raab will meet US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo in London. Pompeo is also due to meet the group of Conservative lawmakers who form the influential China Research Group.

“We are not slipping into some dogmatic approach either way,” Raab said. Asked if the UK and China are still in a “golden era” of diplomatic relations, Raab replied, “It’s not a phrase I would use.” Meanwhile, China’s ambassador to the UK, Liu Xiaoming, warned Raab that if he seeks to impose sanctions on any individuals in China, there will be a “resolute response.”

“You have seen what happened between China and the United States,” Liu said on the BBC’s Andrew Marr Show. “They sanctioned Chinese officials, we sanctioned their senators, their officials. I do not want to see this tit-for-tat between China-US happen in China-UK relations. I think the UK should have its own independent foreign policy rather than dance to the tune of the Americans, like what happened to Huawei.”

Raab played down the idea that London could use its new Magnitsky act to do that. “It’s not quite right that we can willy-nilly decide on sanctions on x or y,” he told the BBC. “We have to build up an evidence base and that takes a long time too.”

TikTok has suspended talks to build a global headquarters in the UK, and Communist Party officials in Beijing have warned British companies doing business in China they’re set to face retaliation over the government’s decision to stop working with Huawei Technologies, the Sunday Times reported. 

Dear Reader,

Business Standard has always strived hard to provide up-to-date information and commentary on developments that are of interest to you and have wider political and economic implications for the country and the world. Your encouragement and constant feedback on how to improve our offering have only made our resolve and commitment to these ideals stronger. Even during these difficult times arising out of Covid-19, we continue to remain committed to keeping you informed and updated with credible news, authoritative views and incisive commentary on topical issues of relevance.

We, however, have a request.

As we battle the economic impact of the pandemic, we need your support even more, so that we can continue to offer you more quality content. Our subscription model has seen an encouraging response from many of you, who have subscribed to our online content. More subscription to our online content can only help us achieve the goals of offering you even better and more relevant content. We believe in free, fair and credible journalism. Your support through more subscriptions can help us practise the journalism to which we are committed.

Support quality journalism and subscribe to Business Standard.

Digital Editor

Business Standard is now on Telegram.
For insightful reports and views on business, markets, politics and other issues, subscribe to our official Telegram channel