The recent protests in Hong Kong make it even more important for the UK Government to be unwavering in its commitment to the Sino-British Joint Declaration. It is a legally-binding treaty and remains as valid today as it did when it was signed and ratified over thirty years ago.
There would be serious consequences if the legally-binding agreement between the UK and China is violated. The Foreign Secretary has said that he will not just gulp and move on, and that he is keeping his options open.
It is imperative that Hong Kong's high degree of autonomy, and the rights and freedoms of the Hong Kong people, are fully respected in line with the Joint Declaration and the Hong Kong Basic Law. The UK Government has made its position on this clear to the Chinese Government, both publicly and in private, and will continue to do so.
Under the 'One Country, Two Systems' model, the proposed amendments to Hong Kong's extradition legislation are a matter for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (SAR) Government. However, I welcome Chief Executive Carrie Lam's statement that she would not proceed with the second reading of the bill.
The UK Government will continue to closely monitor events in Hong Kong. I strongly believe that upholding 'One Country, Two Systems' is the best way to ensure Hong Kong continues to play a vital role for China, and to continue its role and reputation as a global financial and trading centre for the rest of the world.