Speaking in the House of Commons Chamber on Tuesday 2nd June 2020 in the debate on Hong Kong National Security Legislation: UK Response. The Rt Hon Dr Liam Fox MP said:
I welcome very much my right hon. Friend’s statement. Does he agree that China itself is now at a crossroads? It can either be a partner in the international community, which is what we want to see, or take the path to becoming a pariah state with disputes in the South China sea, at the World Trade Organisation and a lack of co-operation with the World Health Organisation over covid. Does he agree that if the Chinese Communist party applies these laws to Hong Kong in clear breach of previous commitments, the world will start to wonder what the value is of a Chinese signature on an international treaty? That would have profound international consequences.
I thank my right hon. Friend. He is absolutely right that at the core of this, beyond all the specific issues that he has raised—freedom of navigation in the South China sea, the issue of transparency and getting to the truth in relation to the initial outbreak of coronavirus, the wider issues around cyber-attacks that China engages in and, of course, the issue of the people of Hong Kong—this is a question not just of international law and rights and the violations of those rights, but of trust and confidence in the kind of partner that China wishes to become. As I have said unapologetically, we wish to engage with China. We do not wish to prevent its rise. We wish to welcome China’s rise, but I think what my right hon. Friend describes is absolutely right: China must live up to the obligations and responsibilities that come with that status.