The United States, Britain, Australia, Canada and New Zealand on Wednesday jointly accused China of violating its commitments by ousting pro-democracy lawmakers from Hong Kong's legislature.
This afternoon, Mahuta responded: "We are aware of the comments, and disagree with them".
"No matter what language China uses, I continue to express that a mature relationship would actually see through the surface to have a hard conversation".
Concerns were sparked by national security legislation that was introduced this year, which would have made it easier to deport Hong Kong residents to the mainland.
When asked about the call of the US Navy secretary to establish a new fleet for the Indian and Pacific oceans to counter China, the spokesman said that some people in the US have been hyping up the so-called China threat with the real objective of finding an excuse for increasing their military force and budget. China has warned the Five Eyes alliance to stop meddling in China's affairs or face serious consequences.
"We're going to get pressure from both sides".
Chen said that the symposium has played an important role in broadening and deepening the economic and trade cooperation between Beijing and Hong Kong.
When Britain ended its colonial rule and handed over Hong Kong back, it raised further warnings about the status of Hong Kong's autonomy promised under the "one country, two organizations" formula.
Zhao further noted that most countries expect civil servants to uphold existing law and pledge loyalty to the nation: "Civil servants must uphold their country's constitutional laws and honor the pledge of allegiance to the motherland, which is the basic political ethics in all countries, right?"
The Guardian reported that the measure also barred any individual from serving in the legislature if they refused to recognize China's sovereignty over Hong Kong, sought assistance from foreign countries to intervene in the region's affairs or undertook any action that would, according to Beijing, appear to harm the semi-autonomous region's national security.
Posts on the Facebook accounts of Ted Hui, Eddie Chu and Ray Chan say they have been arrested in relation to the incidents in the legislature's main chamber.
Hong Kong police said they arrested three former lawmakers Wednesday morning over the May and June events in which a foul-smelling liquid was thrown into the city's legislature, a measure the police said was meant to harm.
The three were joined by supporters holding up signs with slogans outside the West Kowloon Magistrates' Courts. The law criminalizes insult and abuse of the anthem, the "March of the Volunteers".