All national dailies reported extensively on China’s passage of national security legislation for Hong Kong at the National People’s Congress on Thursday. Quoting Secretary of State Pompeo as telling Congress on Wednesday that Hong Kong no longer retains high autonomy from China, Yomiuri wrote that attention will be focused on whether the Trump administration will halt its trade privileges to the former British colony. Yomiuri and Asahi speculated that the rift between the United States and China over Hong Kong could escalate because Washington reacted strongly and is apparently prepared to impose sanctions on China. Nikkei wrote that China made a decisive move to undermine the autonomy of Hong Kong. Nikkei and Asahi wrote that the “one country, two systems” framework that has sustained the prosperity of Hong Kong is now on the verge of collapse.
The papers wrote that Vice Foreign Minister Akiba summoned Chinese Ambassador to Japan Kong Xuanyou on Thursday and told him that Japan is seriously concerned about the passage of the legislation. Chief Cabinet Secretary Suga expressed the view that the situation in Hong Kong could affect preparations for Chinese leader Xi’s planned visit to Japan as a state guest by reportedly saying that Tokyo will communicate with Beijing while keeping an eye on the situation. Foreign Minister Motegi told reporters that Japan is seriously concerned about the situation in Hong Kong. He commented on Xi’s planned visit to Japan by saying that it is important for China to address international issues as a responsible major power. Mainichi wrote that it has become difficult to arrange Xi’s visit to Japan at an early date because the GOJ is worried that it may face criticism at home and abroad if the Chinese leader visits Japan as a state guest despite concern that the legislation may limit freedom and human rights in Hong Kong.