Independence not an option for Hong Kong, says British foreign secretary

by Gary Cheung / 08 April 2016 / SCMP.COM

The British foreign secretary has emphasised independence is not a practical option for Hong Kong but found the recent discussion an inevitable consequence of frustration with the inability to move forward on political reform.

Philip Hammond, who arrived in the city yesterday, said the British government was not convinced Hong Kong bookseller Lee Po was free of any duress or constraints.

“We concluded then and it remains our view that independence is not a practical option,”

The UK minister called on Beijing to provide assurances that it was an isolated case and there would be no reoccurrence of such incidents.

Speaking to the Post and other media, Hammond said the British government had discussed the issue of Hong Kong independence in the early 1980s.

“We concluded then and it remains our view that independence is not a practical option,” he said. “We believe that ‘one country, two systems’ is the right future as it benefits the people of Hong Kong and China.”

His visit to the city was the first by a British foreign secretary in five years.

“I find this discussion almost an inevitable consequence of frustration from the inability to find a way to move forward with constitutional reform,” Hammond said. Read more…

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