China has accused US
officials of trying to “disturb” Hong Kong
through meddling in the city-state’s affairs – a move that Beijing says would provoke its “bad reaction.”
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said on Friday that“certain people on the US side have always wanted to disturb Hong Kong.”
US officials, he charged, were trying to “disturb its socio-economic development, disturb the normal order of its residents’ lives, and even use the Hong Kong issue to interfere in China’s internal affairs.”
“This can only be futile,” he warned. “The only effect it will have is to cause Chinese people to go on alert and have a bad reaction.”
The warning came after the US Department of State released a report on Wednesday, saying Hong Kong’s autonomy was “being eroded under expanded influence and interference from Beijing.”
Lu asserted that Hong Kong was a part of China and no other country had a right to interfere in its internal affairs.
Hong Kong that was a British colony was handed over to China back in 1997.
A spokesman for the Hong Kong government said on Thursday that the town has been exercising a high degree of autonomy “since the return to the motherland.”
China accuses Washington of meddling in its internal affairs as well as regional issues.
Last month, Beijing rejected a US request for an aircraft carrier group to make a port visit to Hong Kong.
China prevented the group, led by the nuclear-powered aircraft carrier USS John C. Stennis, from docking despite a “long track record of successful port visits to Hong Kong,” said the Pentagon.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi (C) attends the opening of the seventh ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum in Doha, capital of Qatar, May 12, 2016. (Xinhua)
The South China Sea has become a source of tension between China, the US, and some other regional countries who are seeking control of trade routes and mineral deposits there.
China claims sovereignty over nearly all of the South China Sea, which is also claimed in part by Taiwan, Brunei, Vietnam, Malaysia, and the Philippines.
China says the US is interfering in regional affairs, deliberately stirring tensions in the South China Sea.
Arab League supports China
On Thursday, Arab League Secretary General Nabil al-Araby said Arab countries support China’s stance in “safeguarding” its sovereignty and territorial integrity.
He made the remarks after meeting Chinese’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi at the seventh ministerial meeting of the China-Arab States Cooperation Forum (CASCF) in Doha, Qatar.
Meanwhile, top generals form China and the US held a video conference on Thursday over the South China Sea issue.
US guided missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence transits the Philippine Sea on March 30, 2016. (AFP photo)
According to China’s Defense Ministry, Chief of the General Staff Fang Fenghui told chairman of the US Joint Chiefs of Staff Joseph Dunford that Beijing does not want the issue impact overall relations with Washington.
Washington accuses Beijing of attempting to take advantage of the situation and gradually assert control over the South China Sea region.
The US sent missile destroyer USS William P. Lawrence to the strategic waters in the sea without Beijing’s permission last week.
Pentagon said the warship conducted a “routine freedom of navigation operation” within 12 nautical miles of a land feature in the South China known as Fiery Cross Reef.
It was the third time in less than a year that Washington has sent its warships to the sea in a move repeatedly condemned by China as “the real militarization” of the region.