Department Press Briefing – March 17, 2021 (Hong Kong Excerpts)

U.S. Department of State

Department Press Briefing – March 17, 2021

MARCH 17, 2021


QUESTION: On the sanctions announcement that came out last evening, just given that it was less than two days prior to this summit tomorrow, was the timing of those sanctions meant to send a message ahead of tomorrow’s meeting?

MS PORTER: Thank you, Rich. So yeah, as you saw yesterday, the Secretary released a statement announcing the update to the Hong Kong Autonomy Act report. And that simply underscores our deep concern with the National People’s Congress March 11 decision to unilaterally undermine Hong Kong’s electoral system. And again, we’ll always advocate and promote for a stable and prosperous Hong Kong that respects human rights, freedoms, political pluralism, and that serves the interests of Hong Kong, mainland China, and the broader international community.

QUESTION: Hi. Thanks for this. Yesterday the NSC and State in a briefing previewed some of the priorities, the topics that would be discussed at the Anchorage meeting between Secretary Blinken and Jake Sullivan and the Chinese. On that list wasn’t included specifically COVID or the pandemic. I wanted to ask what is the State Department’s current or if there is a new line on what you expect to come out from the WHO COVID origins report that is expected this week or next and whether that will also be something that the Secretary would address with his Chinese counterparts in Anchorage. Thanks.

MS PORTER: Thank you for the question. Well, we certainly won’t get ahead of the outcome of the meeting. And when it comes to the WHO report directly, we expect transparency at the forefront of that report. And I’ll just reiterate that we’ll continue to press the PRC on issues where the U.S. and the international communities expect transparency and accountability; such as Hong Kong, Xinjiang, Tibet, pressure on Taiwan, human rights, South China Sea, the Mekong, and COVID-19, as well as other issues. And again, we’ll explore all other avenues for cooperation in both of our nations’ interests.