Liu Xiaoming, China’s ambassador to Britain, made the comments on Sunday, six days after hundreds of angry protesters stormed and vandalized the Legislative Council complex in Hong Kong, following three weeks of protest rallies, over a now-suspended extradition bill.
London has been incessantly posturing in support of the protests.
Hong Kong, a former British colony for almost 150 years, was returned to China in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” deal that guarantees it a level of autonomy, including a separate and independent legal system.
Hong Kong anti-govt. protesters storm into parliamentThere were six hours of intense standoff between angry protesters and riot police.
On Tuesday, British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt infuriated the Chinese when he warned Beijing of “serious consequences” if it breached the agreement over the handover of the region. When asked about the UK’s potential response to China’s handling of the protests in Hong Kong, Hunt was coy, citing what former US president Bill Clinton had termed “strategic ambiguity.”
Reacting to Hunt’s provocative comments, Liu, the Chinese ambassador, in an interview with the BBC TV, accused London of interfering in Hong Kong’s internal affairs.
“We are not interested in diplomatic war with the UK… We are still committed to this ‘golden era’ between our two countries,” he said. “But I cannot agree with some politicians’ description of the relationship, even the use of the so-called ‘strategic ambiguity.’ This language does not belong to the vocabulary between China and the UK. It is Cold War mentality language.”
British Prime Minister Theresa May described the Sino-British relations as “golden era” ties in her first few months in office in 2016. Both countries have since continued to use the phrase.
When asked whether China would intervene directly to resolve the unrest in Hong Kong, Liu said Beijing was fully committed to the “one country, two systems” agreement and that he had full confidence in the city’s ability to resolve the situation on its own.
London summoned Liu earlier this week over his comments that “colonial” Britain should keep its “hands off Hong Kong.”
On Wednesday, China said it had filed an official protest with London over Hunt’s remarks.
China protests to UK over ‘fantasizing’ about Hong KongChina slams British Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt for warning Beijing of “serious consequences” over Hong Kong’s affairs.
Some critics have accused China of instructing Hong Kong’s pro-Beijing leaders to push the extradition bill through. Liu refuted those allegations, saying that Hong Kong had received no instructions from Beijing regarding the matter.
He also rejected the notion that if passed, the bill would make it easy to extradite people to China as the legislation included safeguards such as prohibiting extradition for religious or political beliefs.