June 26, 2019 / 11:14 AM / a month ago

UK says 1984 Hong Kong rights treaty with China is as valid as ever

Demonstrators attend a rally ahead of the G20 summit, urging the international community to back their demands for the government to withdraw a the extradition bill in Hong Kong, China June 26, 2019. REUTERS/Tyrone Siu

LONDON (Reuters) - Britain’s foreign ministry said on Wednesday it would continue to defend its position over Hong Kong after Beijing accused the UK of interfering in China’s internal affairs.

Earlier this month Britain urged the Hong Kong government to “pause and reflect” on an extradition bill that has sparked widespread protests in its former colony. On Tuesday it banned sales of crowd-control equipment to Hong Kong after police clashed with demonstrators.

A Foreign Office spokeswoman said the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration, which laid out how Britain would end its rule over Hong Kong before it was handed back to China in 1997 and which guaranteed the city’s rights and freedoms, still applied.

“The Joint Declaration is a legally binding treaty between the UK and China that remains as valid today as it was when it was signed and ratified over 30 years ago,” she added.

“As a co-signatory, the UK government will continue to defend our position.”

Reporting by Elizabeth Piper and Kate Holton, writing by Alistair Smout; editing by Stephen Addison

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