Australia suspends extradition treaty with Hong Kong, angers China

Scott Morisson
Prime Minister Scott Morrison speaks to the media during a press conference at Parliament House in Canberra, Australia, March 20, 2019. AAP Image/Andrew Taylor/via REUTERS ATTENTION EDITORS - THIS IMAGE WAS PROVIDED BY A THIRD PARTY. NO RESALES. NO ARCHIVE. AUSTRALIA OUT. NEW ZEALAND OUT.

After Canada, Australia has suspended its extradition treaty with Hong Kong. Prime Minister Scott Morrison said that China’s new national security legislation for Hong Kong constitutes a “fundamental change in our circumstances with respect to our extradition agreement with Hong Kong.” “We have formally notified Hong Kong and advised the Chinese authorities,” he said.

Morrison also announced a pathway to permanent residency in Australia for Hong Kong citizens who are looking forward to leave the city due to the imposition of the law. 10,000 skilled workers and students from Hong Kong already in Australia would be given extra five years on their visa, with a pathway to permanent residency. He also encouraged businesses based in Hong Kong to relocate to Australia.

Australia has also updated its travel advisory for Hong Kong, warning Australians of the possibility of detention in the city under the “vague” law.

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Beijing shot back, condemning the Australian announcements as violations of “fundamental principles of international relations”. “China reserves the right to take further reactions, all consequences will be borne by Australia,” warned Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian. “Any attempts to suppress China will never succeed.”

China is Australia’s biggest trade partner but relations have soured recently after Canberra led calls for a probe into the origins of the coronavirus pandemic. Australia considering rejig of its foreign investment laws seen as a rebuff to Chinese firms buying assets at distressed valuations. The proposed law gives the government the power to force the sale of a business if it creates a national security risk.

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