Seven former British foreign ministers on Monday called on Prime Minister Boris Johnson to push G7 allies to set up an international monitoring group for Hong Kong in response to Beijing’s tightening control over the restless city.
Former UK Foreign Secretary Malcolm Rifkind, the letter’s lead author. (File photo: AFP)
The letter was co-signed by Margaret Beckett, William Hague, Jeremy Hunt, David Miliband, David Owen and Jack Straw.
Rifkind said London should “take the lead in co-ordinating international concern and action” because of the 1984 agreement Beijing made with Britain promising Hong Kong would keep certain freedoms and autonomy for 50 years after the handover.
The group called on Johnson to reach out to G7 allies to create a working group “to monitor the situation in Hong Kong and coordinate joint action.”
The body could be modelled on a similar organization set up by the US, Britain, France, Germany, Italy and Russia to respond to the Balkans crisis in the early 1990s, they suggested.
Beijing has lashed out at any foreign criticism of its handling of Hong Kong, arguing the city’s future is an internal affair.
However in Monday’s letter, the former foreign ministers said Beijing is in “flagrant breach” of their 1984 agreement, which was registered at the UN as a treaty.
The G7 were planning to meet next month but on Saturday US President Donald Trump said he was delaying the scheduled summit.
There is no consensus among the G7 powers over how to respond to Beijing.
Trump has said he will strip Hong Kong of certain trade privileges and bar some Chinese students from US universities in response to Beijing’s security law plans.