Hong Kong government’s suspended on Tuesday operations at its representative office in Taiwan in a sign of escalating diplomatic tension between the global financial hub and the democratically ruled island that Beijing claims.
Tension between Hong Kong’s Beijing-backed government and Taiwan have risen since pro-democracy protests erupted in Hong Kong in 2019 and China responded by imposing a sweeping national security law in the city that prompted many activists to leave, some for Taiwan.
A Hong Kong government representative did not provide an explanation for the decision to halt operations at the Hong Kong Economic, Trade and Cultural Office, adding only that the decision was not related to the recent rise in coronavirus cases in Taiwan.
“The suspension is not related to the pandemic situation in Taiwan. We do not have anything further to add,” the representative said in a statement.
Taiwan’s government said that while it respected the decision, it also regretted it.
“We express deep regret at today’s unilateral decision by the Hong Kong government,” Taiwan’s Mainland Affairs Council said in a statement.