China on Thursday announced it had suspended a Mutual Legal Assistance agreement between Hong Kong and the USA, after Washington earlier announced it had suspended three agreements with the territory covering extradition and tax exemptions.
The agreements terminated Wednesday "covered the surrender of fugitive offenders, the transfer of sentenced persons, and reciprocal tax exemptions on income derived from the global operation of ships", State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said.
The U.S. State Department issued a statement Wednesday saying the agreements covered the extradition of fugitives and convicted persons, and tax exemptions on income from global shipping.
The State Department announced it had taken the steps as part of the administration's response to China's imposition of strict national security laws over the former British territory.
"The HKSAR Government strongly objects to and deplores the US action, which is widely seen as a move to create troubles in the China-US relationship, using Hong Kong as a pawn", it said, referring to the city by its formal designation as a Special Administrative Region of China.
President Trump last month signed an executive order to change relations and end preferential treatment to Hong Kong.
On May 22, China's National People's Congress empowered its Standing Committee to write and pass new national security legislation for Hong Kong, rather than waiting for Hong Kong's own legislature to do so.
Earlier this month, China imposed sanctions on several United States lawmakers in retaliation for economic restrictions introduced by Washington against 11 officials, including Hong Kong Chief Executive Carrie Lam, who were accused of suppressing freedoms in the city. China has fired back by sanctioning a number of US lawmakers.
Hong Kong authorities said the three agreements terminated on Wednesday were negotiated "in good faith to benefit the peoples and businesses of both sides". The administration earlier sanctioned 11 Chinese officials.
On August 9, the U.S. Department of State released a joint statement by the Five Eyes Alliance condemning the CCP's erosion of the Hong Kong people's freedom.