China said on Monday that it would take "all necessary measures" to firmly counter and retaliate against the US' threatened sanctions over a national security law for the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region (HKSAR), lambasting the US for blatant interference in China's internal affairs.
"If the US insists on hurting China's interests, China will definitely take all necessary measures to firmly fight back," Zhao Lijian, a spokesperson for the Chinese Foreign Ministry, told a press briefing when asked about the US' threats of sanctions against China.
White House National Security Advisor Robert O'Brien said on Sunday that the US government will likely impose sanctions against China if the latter implements its national security law, according to CNBC. Specifically, O'Brien said that US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo might not certify that Hong Kong maintains a high degree of autonomy, which could result in sanctions against China.
US officials have made similar threats before, following persistent social unrest in Hong Kong last year. Chinese officials have harshly criticized the US for interfering in China's internal affairs.
"Hong Kong is China's Hong Kong. Hong Kong affairs are purely China's internal affairs. What legislation the Hong Kong Special Administrative Region makes, and how and when [it is implemented] are entirely within China's sovereignty. The US has no qualification to point fingers and interfere," Zhao said on Monday.
Zhao did not specify what countermeasures China would take. In December 2019, China announced the first wave of sanctions against the US over its involvement in social unrest in Hong Kong. The move included barring visits of US warships and aircraft to the city, and sanctioning several US-based non-governmental organizations including the National Endowment for Democracy and Human Rights Watch.
A draft decision on establishing and improving the HKSAR's legal system and enforcement mechanisms to safeguard national security was submitted to the National People's Congress, China's top legislature, on Friday, and a final decision is expected later this week when the two sessions conclude.
Chinese officials have maintained that the decision was targeted at a narrow category of actions that jeopardize national security and that it will not affect the HKSAR's high degree of autonomy nor the rights and freedoms of residents in the city.