China warned the U.S. against undermining its interests in Hong Kong. On Monday, Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Zhao Lijian accused the U.S. of trying to harm China’s national security by threatening to punish the communist country over its proposed security law for Hong Kong.

Zhao said Beijing was ready to take every necessary measure to safeguard its interests if U.S. would continue to destabilize its plan, saying the U.S. has “no right to criticize and interfere.”

“What laws, how, and when Hong Kong SAR (Special Administrative Region) should legislate are entirely within the scope of China’s sovereignty,” said Zhao. “If the U.S. insists on hurting China’s interests, China will have to take every necessary measure to counter and oppose this,” he added.

The remark came a day after White House National Security Adviser Robert O’Brien warned China that Washington might revoke Hong Kong’s special trading privileges if China pushes through with its new security law.

Last week, China unveiled its plan to impose a new security law on the semi-autonomous territory that would ban treason, subversion, and sedition. Chinese officials said the proposed law was in response to months of massive protests in the country that have been going on since 2019.

On Sunday, O’Brien made comments on the possible sanctions China could face if it decides to pass and enact the legislation. The top national security adviser threatened that the new law might cost the city its current trading status with the U.S. If the U.S. decides to end Hong Kong’s current trading status, then all goods from Hong Kong will be subjected to the same American tariffs that now only apply to goods from mainland China.

Mike Pompeo, Secretary of State, also said on Friday that the proposed legislation would equate to a “death knell” for Hong Kong’s political freedoms. Ryan Hass, China’s director on former President Barack Obama’s National Security Council, also explained that China’s obstinacy would only deepen the sense of crisis that is already forming around the U.S. and China’s relations.

“This action-reaction sequence of China tightening its hold on Hong Kong and America responding by withdrawing preferential treatment would weaken Hong Kong’s status as a global financial hub,” he said.

Chinese president Xi Jinping Chinese president Xi Jinping Reuters