• Kyodo


Lawmakers from Japan's ruling party said Friday they will urge the government to cancel Chinese President Xi Jinping's state visit, citing concerns over Beijing's crackdown on dissidents in Hong Kong under a new national security law.

Senior members of the Liberal Democratic Party's two committees on foreign affairs drew up a draft resolution decrying the law, which took effect Tuesday and was quickly used to arrest protestors.

The committees are expected to formally adopt the draft resolution next week and submit it to the office of Prime Minister Shinzo Abe.

"We cannot just stand by and watch. We voice our strong condemnation (of the law)," the resolution said. "We cannot help but doubt whether fundamental values such as freedom, human rights and democracy will be upheld" in Hong Kong.

Xi's visit, which would include a summit with Abe as well as a meeting with Emperor Naruhito and a banquet at the Imperial Palace, had been slated to take place this spring but was postponed due to the coronavirus pandemic.

The resolution by the LDP's Foreign Affairs Division and Research Commission on Foreign Affairs reflects growing calls within the party and its conservative base to cancel Xi's trip outright.

It follows an earlier resolution adopted in late May, in which lawmakers urged the Abe government to "reconsider" the invitation.

On the timing of Xi's visit, Abe said last month, "We will continue to maintain communication with China but for now at least, we have yet to reach a stage where we can arrange a specific date."

The National People's Congress Standing Committee, China's top legislative body, on Tuesday unanimously passed the national security law, which prohibits acts of secession, subversion, terrorism and collusion with foreign forces in Hong Kong.

Countries including the United States, Britain and Japan have strongly criticized the move, saying it erodes freedoms and goes against the promise of allowing a "high degree of autonomy" in the former British colony for 50 years after its return to China in 1997.

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