The European Union said Friday that China's imposition of a security law on Hong Kong had damaged ties with Beijing but that imposing sanctions would not solve the crisis.
"The EU expresses its grave concern at the steps taken by China on 28 May, which are not in conformity with its international commitments," EU top diplomat Josep Borrell said on behalf of 27 member states.
"EU relations with China are based on mutual respect and trust. This decision further calls into question China's will to uphold its international commitments," he said, after talks with foreign ministers.
But when asked whether Brussels might threaten sanctions after China's rubber-stamp parliament approved the new law, Borrell said: "I don't think that sanctions are the way to solve problems in China."
Britain also expressed deep concern about Beijing's decision to impose a national security law in Hong Kong.
"We have urged China to reconsider the implementation of this law and live up to its responsibilities as a leading member of the international community," a spokesman for Prime Minister Boris Johnson said Friday.
"We hope they will listen carefully to the arguments we have made in public and in private about the impact that Beijing's proposal would have on Hong Kong."
Earlier, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian told reporters that China firmly opposed a statement from Britain, the United States, Australia and Canada, adding that it had lodged representations with the four countries.
China's National People’s Congress on Thursday voted to approve the bill that will now be sent to its standing committee for final approval. Details of the final version of the law aren’t known, but China says it will prohibit separatist activities and actions that might threaten the Communist Party’s monopoly on political power in mainland China.
Beijing and its supporters in Hong Kong are defending the legislative move against criticism from foreign countries, including the U.S., which has threatened to revoke special trade privileges granted to the former British colony when it was handed over to China in 1997 under a "one country, two systems” framework in which it was guaranteed its own political, legal, social and legal institutions for 50 years.