WASHINGTON (Reuters) – The U.S. State Department said it notified Hong Kong on Wednesday that Washington has suspended or terminated three bilateral agreements with the semi-autonomous city following China’s imposition of a sweeping national security law.
The ending of the agreements follows U.S. President Donald Trump’s order last month to end Hong Kong’s special status under U.S. law to punish China for what he called “oppressive actions” against the former British colony.
The State Department said in a statement the agreements ended covered “the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the international operation of ships.”
“These steps underscore our deep concern regarding Beijing’s decision to impose the National Security Law, which has crushed the freedoms of the people of Hong Kong,” State Department Spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
Trump signed an executive order last month that he said would end the preferential economic treatment for the city following the imposition of the draconian new national security law.
The legislation punishes anything China considers secession, subversion, terrorism or collusion with foreign forces with up to life in prison and has drawn criticism from Western countries that worry the law will end the freedoms promised when the former British colony returned to Chinese rule in 1997.
Analysts have said U.S.-China ties have deteriorated to their worst level in decades.
Washington this month imposed sanctions on Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam and other current and former Hong Kong and mainland officials whom Washington accuses of curtailing political freedom in the financial hub.
The U.S. government has also required goods made in the former British colony for export to the United States to be labelled as made in China after Sept. 25.
(Reporting by Daphne Psaledakis; Editing by Susan Heavey and Marguerita Choy)