US warns China against 'highly destabilising' Hong Kong move
US State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus.–File photo
"Any effort to impose national security legislation that does not reflect the will of the people of Hong Kong would be highly destabilizing, and would be met with strong condemnation from the United States and the international community," State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
"We urge Beijing to honor its commitments and obligations in the Sino-British Joint Declaration -- including that Hong Kong will 'enjoy a high degree of autonomy' and that people of Hong Kong will enjoy human rights and fundamental freedoms," Ortagus said.
President Donald Trump earlier Thursday also promised a response when told of the move on Hong Kong.
"I don't know what it is, because nobody knows yet. If it happens, we'll address that issue very strongly," Trump said.
Pro-democracy leaders and activists warned that the move would mark "the end of Hong Kong," a fear voiced in months of massive and sometimes violent protests last year.
The US Congress late last year angered China by passing a law that would strip Hong Kong's preferential trading status in the United States if the urban hub is no longer considered autonomous from the mainland.
Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this month delayed a report on certifying Hong Kong's autonomy under the law, saying the State Department would wait for the meeting of the legislature, the National People's Congress.