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UK Minister for Indo-Pacific’s key meetings in mainland China and Hong Kong SAR, April 2024

The UK Minister for the Indo-Pacific, Anne-Marie Trevelyan, met with senior representatives from the Chinese government and Hong Kong authorities as part of her six-day visit to Beijing, Shanghai, Tianjin and Hong Kong. 

In Beijing, she met with Vice Minister of Foreign Affairs, Deng Li.

The Minister reiterated to Vice Minister Deng the UK’s approach to China, in line with the Integrated Review Refresh – outlining the protect, align and engage pillars of the UK’s China strategy.

They discussed the global issues on which the P5 Security Council need to cooperate. The Minister encouraged China to use its influence positively to avert further escalation in the Middle East; and urge Russia to end its illegal invasion in Ukraine, including through engaging constructively with international efforts to achieve a just peace, and ensuring Chinese companies do not circumvent sanctions by supplying Russia including through dual use goods and components.

The two Ministers explored mutual opportunities for greater co-operation between the UK and China on issues such as AI safety, trade, development, and climate change.

During the meeting, Minister Trevelyan made UK concerns clear, on human rights, the implementation of National Security legislation and connected cases in Hong Kong, including Jimmy Lai’s ongoing trial. The Minister set out concerns against any interference in the UK’s democratic institutions, stressing the importance of the UK’s parliamentary democracy and that we will always put our national security first. She urged China to lift sanctions on MPs and other British nationals.

Minister Trevelyan then travelled to Hong Kong in the first visit by a UK FCDO Minister to the Special Administrative Region since 2018, meeting with Secretary for Financial Services and the Treasury, Christopher Hui.

During the meeting, the Minister emphasised our historic ties to Hong Kong and its people and our support for rights and freedoms set out in the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The Minister raised concerns over the deterioration of rights and freedom in the city precipitated by the 2020 National Security Law, as well as the prosecution of Jimmy Lai and others and the recent passage of legislation under Article 23. She also addressed matters of concern for the BN(O) community in the UK including the imposition of bounties.

The Ministers also discussed important areas for pragmatic cooperation, including issues of global concern like financial stability, tackling illicit finance and leadership on green finance. 

Throughout the visit, the Minister reiterated the need for a constructive and open relationship to be able to discuss issues of mutual and global interest as well as areas of disagreement or concern.

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