POLITICS

Malcolm Turnbull Visits Hong Kong Amid Escalating Dual Citizenship Crisis

The PM continues his trip through Asia.

12/11/2017 8:48 AM AEDT | Updated 12/11/2017 4:15 PM AEDT
Jorge Silva / Reuters
Malcolm Turnbull is visiting Hong Kong

Malcolm Turnbull has arrived in Hong Kong for a brief visit before he travels to Manila for the East Asia summit.

Turnbull has ruled out cutting his trip short despite the intensifying dual citizenship fiasco in Australia, shrugging off worries about the saga that risks crippling his government.

In Hong Kong, Turnbull is expected to put trade, finance and security at the top of the agenda in what is the first visit to the Chinese territory by an Australian PM since Bob Hawke visited in 1984.

Anti-money laundering measures and a possible free trade deal with the special administrative region are expected to be particular priorities for the lightning stopover.

"Today, I'll be meeting with the financial regulators here in Hong Kong to talk about the importance ... and the way in which they're ensuring that North Korea is not able to use this, one of the largest ports and financial centres in the world, as a means to continue to raise money through their many illegal activities," Turnbull told reporters in Hong Kong on Sunday.

The PM, who touched down overnight, is also expected to meet and greet with Aussie expats in the global financial hub before meeting with the island's Chief Executive Carrie Lam.

The whirlwind visit to Hong Kong -- Australia's eighth larges export destination -- comes after a disappointing APEC summit for Turnbull where he was unable to advance negotiations on the Trans-Pacific Partnership.

On Saturday, the Prime Minister suffered another body blow when Liberal backbencher John Alexander announced his resignation over dual-citizenship concerns.

Alexander -- the seventh victim of the citizenship dramas -- believes he is a likely dual citizen by descent due to his father being British.

The coalition MP's resignation from parliament means the government is left without a clear majority in the lower house and will have to fight a by-election to retain the seat of Bennelong.

It's the second by-election to be triggered by the ongoing citizenship saga after Nationals Barnaby Joyce stepped down from his New England electorate last month.

In Hong Kong, Turnbull moved to project calm about the crisis, reiterating that all MPs needed to comply with the law on dual citizenship.

He said the government was confident of a positive outcome at a by-election in Bennelong.

"There will be a by-election in Bennelong and we certainly don't take the outcome of that for granted ... but we'll certainly be working very hard to ensure John Alexander is returned again."

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