Prime Minister Scott Morrison has congratulated Boris Johnson on becoming the prime minister of the UK. Picture: Rod McGuirk/AP
Prime Minister Scott Morrison has congratulated Boris Johnson on becoming the prime minister of the UK. Picture: Rod McGuirk/AP

PM not considering visas over HK protests

SCOTT Morrison believes it's too early to consider granting permanent protection visas to Hong Kong residents living in Australia, as violent protests and tensions escalate in the region.

"Those sorts of issues are premature. What we have to do in this situation, as I've said all along, is to remain calm," the prime minister told 3AW radio on Wednesday.

"We just urge the protesters to be peaceful and we just urge the de-escalation of the situation."

Asked if China should show restraint, Mr Morrison said "of course".

Pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong are nearing the three-month mark, with fears over how far the Chinese military will go to stamp out the unrest.

Attacks on protesters by Hong Kong police have prompted the Greens-led push for protection visas.

Foreign Minister Marise Payne has been closely assessing the situation and has been in regular contact with Australia's Consul-General to Hong Kong, Michaela Browning.

The growing unrest in Hong Kong has this week spread to schools and universities, with students boycotting classes and holding rallies.

Mr Morrison said Australia was unapologetic when raising concerns with China over the protests, rejecting assertions the government was hesitant to do so due to the trading relationship between the two countries.

But he says he strongly supports US President Donald Trump - who he will visit later this month at the White House - in putting pressure on China.

"They've (China) got to play by the same rules as everybody else, whether that's on emissions reduction, on trade, or anything else."


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