US loses core allies' support on sanctioning China over HK issue

By Leng Shumei Source:Global Times Published: 2020/6/7 17:14:09

US loses core allies’ support on sanctioning China over HK issue

Hong Kong residents from all walks of life collect online signatures and hold a gathering on Sunday morning to show their support for the draft bill to safeguard the national security law to be implemented in the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region. The legal agenda was announced on Thursday night. Photo: cnsphoto

Japan's and Germany's decision to not back sanctions proposed by the US against China over the Hong Kong national security law further demonstrates that US' "ganged sanction" will not put pressure on China as was its intention, but rather hurt US' own economy and international influence, Chinese experts warned. 

The US is losing support from more and more allies amid deteriorating China-US ties, as these countries are clear that blindly following the US to launch a cold war against China does them no good - especially in the post-pandemic period, when the Chinese market is vital to the restarting of the global economy, experts said. 

The remarks came as a report from the Kyodo News Agency on Sunday, citing officials involved, said that Japan has opted out of joining the US, the UK and others in issuing a statement to condemn China for imposing a national security law on Hong Kong.

Japan's decision indicated that it is more focused on its relationship with China and trying to avoid frictions with it, according to the Kyodo report.  

Days before Japan's decision, in an interview with Deutsche Welle on June 3, Germany's Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said that sanctions are not a wise move in the long run as they would hinder dialogue between Europe and China. 

Maas had previously met with Hong Kong secessionist Joshua Wong Chi-fung in September 2019 in Berlin despite opposition from the Chinese government. However, during the June 3 interview, Maas showed a sharp turn in his attitude to Wong, saying that Wong's opinions constitute separatism and do not conform with Germany's policies toward China. 

Japan and Germany are two core allies of the US, and had previously been in consensus with the US in its strategy toward China. However, this time they have split with the US over the Hong Kong national security law, Tian Feilong, a Hong Kong affairs expert and associate professor at Beihang University in Beijing, told the Global Times on Sunday.

"Japan and Germany highly value existing close trade relations with China under the globalization trend, especially in the post-pandemic era when the Chinese market is vital to the restarting of the global economy. But US' sanctions come from of a cold war mentality and only serves US' own interests," Tian explained, noting that US' move is in opposition to the globalization trend and will damage US' hegemonic position and its leadership of the global economy in the long run. 

Hong Kong separatists activists like Wong and Agnes Chow Ting used to actively win over German and Japanese politicians in supporting their separatist activities.  However, analysts noted that this time, they should be aware that they would not succeed, as even the US, their paymaster, is losing allies in containing China in face of other countries' national interests.  

On May 28, after China's top legislature endorsed a decision to introduce a national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region, the US, the UK, Australia and Canada issued a statement expressing their "deep concern" over the move. What is notable is that New Zealand, another member of the Five Eyes, did not participate in the statement.  

On June 3, German Chancellor Angela Merkel, who will take over the EU's rotating six-month presidency in July, said that Germany hopes to maintain dialogue with China and boost cooperation on a broad range of fields and issues, and also stands ready to keep close in communication with China to realize important events on the Germany-China and EU-China agendas.

Even the UK on the one hand appeared to cooperate with the US in sanctioning China as it vowed to extend Hongkongers' visa rights; on the other hand, it tried to avoid China-UK ties from worsening.  

The US is losing allies, not only at the governmental level but at the level of popular support, given its recent moves that prioritize US interests, damage international cooperation and hurt allies' interests including withdrawing from the Paris Climate Agreement and World Health Organization, Chinese analysts noted. 

According to a poll jointly conducted by the US-based think tank Pew Research Center and the Körber Foundation, 64 percent of Germans considered the relationship between the Germany and the US to be bad in 2019.

When asked whether relations with China or the US are more important, only 37 percent picked the US, a 13-point decline from November 2019, while another 36 percent advocated closer ties with China, up from 24 percent, according to the poll. 

Traitors deemed to fail 

In response to Maas' remarks during the June 3 interview, Wong, in a tweet on Saturday, called on the German government to urge the Chinese government to withdraw the bill "to safeguard HK's freedoms & foreign interests."

"It's time for Wong Chi-fung to stop," former Hong Kong chief executive Leung Chun-ying said in a Facebook post on Saturday, noting that Mass had made his stance clear enough in the interview.   

Chan Yung, a vice-chairman of the Democratic Alliance for the Betterment and Progress of Hong Kong, told the media that no country would turn against China in favor of traitors. 

"It is a consensus for all sovereign states to resist traitors," Chan said, noting that traitors would come to no good and people like Wong would be no exception.

The US will certainly continue to push its allies to join in sanctioning China over the Hong Kong national security law. But as long as Chinese government explains clearly the law's aim and necessity, more countries would understand that the law is in good for the Hong Kong's stability and prosperity, Tian said. 

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