US sanctions likely if China takes over Hong Kong, says White House official

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China’s proposed national security legislation for Hong Kong could lead to US sanctions and threaten the city's status as a financial hub, White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien said on Sunday.

“It looks like, with this national security law, they're going to basically take over Hong Kong and if they do ...Secretary (of State Mike) Pompeo will likely be unable to certify that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy and if that happens there will be sanctions that will be imposed on Hong Kong and China,” O'Brien said on NBC's “Meet the Press.”

Beijing calls for cooperation

Meanwhile in Beijing, China’s top diplomat Wang Yi said on Sunday that China and the United States both stand to gain from cooperation and would lose from confrontation, adding both sides must find a way for peaceful co-existence.

Read more: US pushing ties to ‘brink of new cold war’: Chinese foreign minister

Relations between Beijing and Washington have deteriorated since the outbreak of the new coronavirus, with the administrations of President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping repeatedly trading barbs over issues related to the pandemic.

They have also clashed over Hong Kong, human rights, trade and US support for Chinese-claimed Taiwan.

State Councillor Wang, speaking at his annual news conference, said China and the United States need to start coordinating macro policies for their respective economies as well as the world economy.

The United States should stop wasting precious time, said Wang, who is also China’s foreign minister.

China remains prepared to work with the United States in the spirit of cooperation and mutual respect, he told reporters.