US ends defence exports to Hong Kong, looking to more restrictions

US ends defence exports to Hong Kong, looking to more restrictions

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo
FILE PHOTO: US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo gives a news conference about dealings with China and Iran. (Mangel Ngan/Pool via REUTERS)

WASHINGTON, DC: The United States is ending defence exports to Hong Kong and is considering further restrictions on trade with the territory, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Monday (Jun 29).

China recently moved to impose new security legislation that has raised concerns among Hong Kong democracy activists that Beijing is further eroding the extensive autonomy promised when Britain handed the territory back to China in 1997.

"The Chinese Communist Party’s decision to eviscerate Hong Kong’s freedoms has forced the Trump administration to re-evaluate its policies toward the territory," Pompeo said.

He said the United States, effective Monday, was ending exports of defence equipment to Hong Kong and will also take steps to end the export of dual-use technologies to the territory. Dual-use technologies have both commercial and military uses.

The announcements come at a time of intensified US rhetoric against Beijing as President Donald Trump campaigns for re-election. Opinion polls have shown voters increasingly embittered toward China, especially over the coronavirus, which began there.

"The United States is forced to take this action to protect US national security. We can no longer distinguish between the export of controlled items to Hong Kong or to mainland China," Pompeo said.

Source: Reuters