White House National Security Adviser Robert O'Brien on Sunday told MSNBC's Chuck Todd that the Trump administration is considering imposing sanctions against China if they decide to move forward with a national security law that would take away Hong Kong's independence.
"As you know, Chuck, the Communist Party of China promised Great Britain back in 1994 with the sign of the British declaration that Hong Kong would have a degree of autonomy and would maintain their way of life through 2047. So now 27 years before that deadline and it looks like with this national security law, they're going to basically take over Hong Kong," O'Brien said during the interview. "If they do, under the 1992 Hong Kong Policy Act and the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act of 2019, Secretary Pompeo would 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."
Should China move forward with such actions, it is likely that international companies would pull out of any financial markets that involve the regime. That would make it difficult for Hong Kong to continue to thrive as "the Asian financial center that it's become."
"I just don't see how they can stay. One reason that they came to Hong Kong is because there was the rule of law there, there was a free enterprise system, there was a capitalist system, there was democracy and local legislative elections," the national security adviser said. "If all those things go away, I'm not sure how the financial community can stay there."
ICYMI: What is the U.S. prepared to do if Beijing goes through with moving Hong Kong away from a democracy? #MTP @robertcobrien: "There will be sanctions. It's hard to see how Hong Kong will remain the Asian financial center ... if China takes over." pic.twitter.com/GlC1DDcUeI— Meet the Press (@MeetThePress) May 25, 2020
Chinese Spokesman Zhao Lijian wasn't happy with the United States' threats of sanctions.
China will take "all necessary measures" to "firmly" hit back at the US for threatening sanctions over the #HongKong National Security Law if the US persists in damaging China's interest; the US has no rights to interfere with China's internal affairs: FM spokesperson Zhao Lijian pic.twitter.com/EUbzK21qOR— People's Daily, China (@PDChina) May 25, 2020
Even though the national security law has yet to be enacted, China is already utilizing it to shut down pro-democracy Hong Kongers.
WATCH: Police fire tear gas as thousands of protestors take to the streets in Hong Kong to march against Beijing’s plan to directly impose national security laws on the city. https://t.co/JiNShTSbVA pic.twitter.com/5OLyDEPj1a— NBC News World (@NBCNewsWorld) May 24, 2020