The European Union urged Chinese leaders on Monday to respect Hong Kong’s autonomy and expressed “grave concern” over plans to impose a new security law on the territory.

European Commission president Ursula von der Leyen and European Council chief Charles Michel expressed their view in a video summit with Chinese Prime Minister Li Keqiang, which was followed by an exchange with President Xi Jinping.

File photo: EU.

“We expressed our grave concerns about the proposed national security law for Hong Kong,” Michel told reporters afterwards.

“We called on China to follow the promises made to the people of Hong Kong and the international community regarding Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy and guaranteed freedoms.”

Von der Leyen said they had made it clear to the Chinese that the EU believed the imposition of the national security law breached Beijing’s international commitments.

File Photo: Benjamin Yuen/United Social Press.

“The national security law risks seriously undermining the ‘one country, two systems’ principle and Hong Kong’s high degree of autonomy, which we wish to see stay in place.”

Von der Leyen said she had warned the Chinese leaders that Hong Kong owes its economic success to its autonomy from Beijing.

“So we also conveyed that China risks very negative consequences if it goes forward with imposing this law,” she said.

“The European Union is in touch with our G7 partners on this topic, and we’ve made our position very clear to the Chinese leadership today, and urge them to reconsider.

“Of course, they have a different standpoint than us. But this is our very clear standpoint we conveyed to the Chinese leadership.”

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