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EU says Hong Kong decision damages trust with China

FILE PHOTO: European High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs, Josep Borrell, is seen during a video press conference at the end of International Donors' Conference in solidarity with Venezuelan refugees and migrants in the countries of the region, in the context of the coronavirus pandemic in Brussels, Belgium May 26, 2020. Olivier Hoslet/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo

BRUSSELS (Reuters) - European Union governments expressed “grave concern” on Friday over China’s security law for Hong Kong, the EU’s top diplomat Josep Borrell said following a video meeting of the bloc’s 27 foreign ministers.

“We believe that this seriously risks undermining the one country, two systems principle,” Borrell said, referring to Hong Kong’s autonomy.

“Our relationship with China is based on mutual respect and trust but this decision calls this into question,” he told a news conference.

China’s parliament approved on Thursday a decision to go forward with legislation for Hong Kong that democracy activists, diplomats and some in the business world fear will jeopardise its semi-autonomous status and its role as a global financial hub.

“The autonomy of Hong Kong has really been weakened by this decision,” Borrell said.

EU governments later released a statement that mirrored Borrell’s comments, saying the decision also “further calls into question China’s will to uphold its international commitments.”

The EU statement follows a formal scolding by Britain, which handed back Hong Kong to China in 1997, along with the United States, Australia and Canada in a statement on Thursday.

Reporting by Robin Emmott; editing by Philippa Fletcher

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