Hong Kong closed the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan, which served as its representative office. The unilateral decision came amid strained ties between China and Taiwan, leading to speculations that Hong Kong is considering suspending ties with Taiwan affected by China’s efforts to diplomatically isolate Taiwan.
According to the South China Morning Post (SCMP) on Wednesday, the government of Hong Kong announced on its website the previous day that it is temporarily suspending operations at its representative office in Taiwan. There was no explanation as to the reason for the suspension and when normal operations will be resumed. “We express deep regret at today’s unilateral decision by the Hong Kong government,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement.
The Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office in Taiwan was opened in 2011 to facilitate economic and trade exchanges between Hong Kong and Taiwan. Taiwan also has similar office in Hong Kong. Although these offices are not official government organizations, they have served as consulates, protecting their overseas citizens.
Unlike Hong Kong and Taiwan, which operate such representative offices, China and Taiwan do not run such offices in each other’s countries. Hong Kong was able to establish its own policies because the principle of “one country, two systems” applied to Hong Kong before Xi Jinping came to power in 2013. The situation began to change after 2013 as Xi Jinping underlined the adherence to the “one China” principle. Hong Kong is increasingly affected by China in recent years. China passed a new national security law in Hong Kong last year and approved a plan to reform the electoral system of Hong Kong this year.
Ki-Yong Kim firstname.lastname@example.org