Washington: US President Donald Trump has urged his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to meet the anti-Beijing protesters in Hong Kong, who have been demanding democratic reforms in the Asian financial hub, to resolve the problem “humanely.”
Hong Kong, a former British colony, has witnessed unprecedented turmoil for weeks, with pro-democracy protesters causing chaos at the international airport earlier this week.
Trump had previously appeared to suggest that he himself should meet Xi to discuss the crisis in Hong Kong which was sparked by opposition to a bill that would have allowed extraditions from Hong Kong to mainland China.
Asserting that the US is “having a very good discussion” on a trade deal with China, Trump told reporters at the Morristown airport in New Jersey that he will speak with Chinese President Xi “very soon”.
Trump said, he will sook speak to President Xi. “We have a call scheduled soon — President Xi. We’ll be speaking to him very soon,” he said.
In a tweet, Trump said he had “ZERO doubt” that Xi could “humanely solve the Hong Kong problem”.
He (Xi) can work something that everybody is happy,” Trump said in response to a question.
But, China has rejected foreign intervention in Hong Kong, saying that Beijing needs no outside help in resolving its internal affairs.
Trump also tied the protests to a US trade deal with China, in the face of ongoing trade tensions.
The US president claimed that China is doing very poorly as a result of the trade war with America and the “longer it goes on, the stronger we get”.
The Trump administration and China have been clashing for more than a year over allegations that China steals US intellectual property rights, pressures American companies to hand over technology and unfairly subsidises the country’s own companies.
The US has imposed tariffs on $250 billion on Chinese goods. In retaliation, China has imposed tariffs on $110 billion on US products.
“I think the longer the trade war goes on, the weaker China gets and the stronger we get. We’re taking in massive amounts of money. Billions and billions of dollars. And I think the longer it goes, the stronger we get. I have a feeling it’s going to go fairly short,” Trump said.
As a result of the trade war, he said, China is doing very poorly.
“The tariffs have really bitten into China. They haven’t bitten into us at all except for the reporters that want to make it look that way, but they don’t understand what’s happening,” he said.
“The tariffs, we’ve taken in close to $60 billion in tariff money. The consumer has not paid for them. Now, at some point, they may have to pay something. But they understand that,” he said.
China has lost millions of jobs, Trump said adding that thousands of companies are closing in China.
“China has taken out over $500 billion a year for many years from our country. And that’s not going to happen anymore,” he said.
At the same time, he said, the US is having a very good discussion on a trade deal with China. We’re having very good discussions with China. They very much want to make a deal.