German leader Merkel says peaceful solution needed for HK
BEIJING (Reuters) – German Chancellor Angela Merkel said on Friday that she discussed Hong Kong with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and that there needed to be a peaceful solution for the city.
Li, speaking at a joint news conference in Beijing with Merkel, said China wanted to prevent unrest in the former British colony, which has been convulsed by protests in the past few weeks.
“I stressed that the rights and freedoms for (Hong Kong) citizens have to be granted,” Merkel said.
“In the current situation violence must be prevented. Only dialogue helps. There are signs that Hong Kong’s chief executive will invite such a dialogue. I hope that materializes and that demonstrators have the chance to participate within the frame of citizens’ rights,” she said.
Li told a news conference with Merkel, “The Chinese government unswervingly safeguards ‘one country, two systems’ and ‘Hong Kong people govern Hong Kong people’”.
Protesters plan to block traffic to the city’s international airport on Saturday, a week after thousands of demonstrators disrupted transport links, sparking some of the worst violence since the unrest escalated three months ago.
Many protesters have pledged to fight on despite the withdrawal of the extradition bill announced by Hong Kong’s Chief Executive Carrie Lam on Thursday, saying the concession is too little, too late. Hundreds of protesters gathered on Friday evening, with crowds expected to swell into the night.