France halts approval of extradition treaty with Hong Kong

France has decided to halt the ratification of an extradition agreement with Hong Kong amid increased tensions between European countries and China.

The decision comes after Hong Kongs leader Carrie Lam postponed legislative elections planned for September by a year because of the coronavirus pandemic and Beijing imposed a new national security law in Hong Kong, which critics say undermines the regions autonomy from China.

“France recalls that it is essential that the elections be held as soon as possible and in conditions allowing for genuine democratic expression, in accordance with the rights and freedoms guaranteed by the Fundamental Law of Hong Kong,” a spokesperson for Frances foreign affairs ministry said in a statement Monday.

Frances junior minister for European affairs, Clément Beaume, said last week that European leaders “have been divided and weak for a very long time” on how to deal with the situation in Hong Kong.

“Today that time of naivety is over,” he said, adding: “I think we saw it at the last EU-China summit in June, the tone is firmer today.”

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