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Monday, September 20, 2021

Merkel criticizes Chinese involvement in Hong Kong – but wants to keep talking

German Chancellor Angela Merkel has criticised Chinese involvement in Hong Kong and called for a united European Union stance towards China.

“It is an alarming development with regard to something that has always applied, which is ‘one country, two systems’.

“And that is very much being questioned,’’ Merkel said on Monday during a meeting with Italian Prime Minister, Giuseppe Conte, near Berlin.

At the same time, the chancellor emphasised the importance of continued relations with China.

“All this is not a reason not to continue talking to China but it is a difficult point, no question,’’ Merkel said.

The chancellor also called for a unified China policy within the European Union, especially with regard to the planned EU-China summit in September.

German President, Frank-Walter Steinmeier, sharply criticised Hong Kong’s national security law on Sunday, saying it breached international accords made by China.

“If it stays this way, this will result in a sustained negative change towards the European and towards the Western states,’’ Steinmeier told German broadcaster ZDF.

This could not be in China’s interest, he said, adding: “that is why I still hope there are possibilities for a change in Chinese thinking’’.

Beijing last month imposed a new national security law on Hong Kong, targeting acts of independence, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces.

Critics fear it spells the end for the “one country, two systems” principle that has guaranteed Hong Kong’s autonomous and liberal administration since Britain returned it to China in 1997. (dpa/NAN)

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