US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Sunday warned China that the United States could change its view of Hong Kong's status in light of alleged interference by Beijing in the work of American journalists in the Chinese region. The State Department also delayed until May 22 a report to Congress on the state of Hong Kong, which guarantees it special treatment.
"Any decision impinging on Hong Kong's autonomy and freedoms as guaranteed under the Sino-British Joint Declaration and the Basic Law would inevitably impact our assessment of One Country, Two Systems and the status of the territory," Pompeo said in an official statement.
Pompeo said that the US has been alerted to the Chinese government’s “threats to interfere with the work of American journalists in Hong Kong."
"It has recently come to my attention that the Chinese government has threatened to interfere with the work of American journalists in Hong Kong. These journalists are members of a free press, not propaganda cadres, and their valuable reporting informs Chinese citizens and the world," Pompeo said.
The United States and China have been at loggerheads on several issues, of which, many are pertaining to COVID-19. The standoff between the two world powers escalated in March after China expelled American journalists from three US publications, namely - The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, and The Washington Post. The action came after Washington labeled Chinese state news outlets in the US as a foreign agent
Washington claims that Beijing's ‘interference’ in the work of the US free press is an attempt by the Chinese authorities to obstruct the work of journalists in the country.
Earlier in February, China had revoked the press credentials of three Wall Street Journal reporters for publishing an opinion piece that questioned China's efforts against the novel coronavirus.
China is also likely to face questions at the WHO meeting scheduled to take place on Monday, over the origins of Covid and whether Taiwan should have its own representation at the world body.
(With inputs from ANI)