From top: Protest in Hong Kong in May; Northern Ireland First Minister Arlene Foster (top left) and Deputy First Minister Michelle O’Neill (bottom right) on a video call with Belfast’s Chinese Consul General, Madame Zhang Meifang (right)
Via The Irish News:
THE first and deputy first minister are alleged to have told a Chinese government representative they “understand and respect” Hong Kong’s draconian national security laws.
Arlene Foster and Michelle O’Neill are said to have given the endorsement in a video call with Belfast’s Chinese Consul General, according to the consulate.
Details of the virtual meeting emerged in a report posted in recent weeks on the Chinese Consulate’s website.
Madame Zhang also spoke about Hong Kong’s national security legislation, claiming it does not undermine the region’s level of autonomy or its residents’ freedoms.
The report added:
“Foster and O’Neill said that the Northern Ireland government cherishes friendship with China, understands and respects Hong Kong’s national security legislation, and sincerely wishes Hong Kong more prosperity and stability, and expressed that Northern Ireland is willing to further strengthen its cooperation with China in the epidemic.
“Mutually beneficial cooperation in the fields of prevention and control, local cooperation, economy, trade and tourism will better benefit the people of both sides.”
In a single-line response, an Executive Office spokeswoman said: “Ministers held a courtesy call with the Chinese Consul General as part of their regular communications on areas of interest to the executive.“