Pompeo: 'No valid reason' for Hong Kong election delay

Pompeo: 'No valid reason' for Hong Kong election delay
© Greg Nash

Secretary of State Mike PompeoMichael (Mike) Richard PompeoOvernight Defense: Esper confirms plans to drop below 5,000 troops in Afghanistan | State Department says it's cleared of wrongdoing in emergency arms sales before investigation's release State says it will be cleared by watchdog report US 'deeply concerned' over election in Belarus MORE said late Saturday that there is “no valid reason” for Hong Kong to postpone legislative elections for a year.

“It is likely, therefore, that Hong Kong will never again be able to vote – for anything or anyone,” Pompeo said in a statement. “This regrettable action confirms that Beijing has no intention of upholding the commitments it made to the Hong Kong people and the United Kingdom under the Sino-British Joint Declaration, a UN-registered treaty, and the Basic Law.”

Hong Kong’s government announced Friday that it would postpone the elections, originally scheduled for Sept. 6, because of the coronavirus pandemic. The government cited risks to public health and strains on campaigns and voters caused by social distancing requirements and travel restrictions.

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Pro-democracy groups, however, said the decision is part of an attempt to thwart opposition candidates challenging those supported by Beijing, which has increasingly cracked down on anti-establishment protests that have roiled Hong Kong for more than a year.

“For decades, the Hong Kong people have repeatedly demonstrated their desire and ability to hold free and fair elections. We urge Hong Kong authorities to reconsider their decision,” Pompeo said in Saturday night’s statement.

“The elections should be held as close to the September 6 date as possible and in a manner that reflects the will and aspirations of the Hong Kong people. If they aren’t, then regrettably Hong Kong will continue its march toward becoming just another Communist-run city in China,” he added.

White House press secretary Kayleigh McEnany on Friday also condemned Hong Kong’s decision to delay the elections.

"We condemn the Hong Kong government’s decision to postpone for one year its legislative council elections and to disqualify opposition candidates," McEnany said at a press briefing, reading from a prepared statement. "This action undermines the democratic processes and freedoms that have underpinned Hong Kong's prosperity, and this is only the most recent in a growing list of broken promises by Beijing, which promised autonomy and freedom to the Hong Kong people until 2047 in the Sino-British Joint Declaration."

Her comments came one day after President TrumpDonald John TrumpTeachers union launches 0K ad buy calling for education funding in relief bill FDA head pledges 'we will not cut corners' on coronavirus vaccine Let our values drive COVID-19 liability protection MORE asked if the U.S. should postpone its election in November.