President Trump commented on Hong Kong’s protest movement, and suggested that its fate be tied to a trade deal.
In his most extensive comments on the months of unrest in Hong Kong, President Trump said on Wednesday that China should “humanely” resolve situation before a trade deal is reached.
His comments, delivered on Twitter, for the first time tied the fate of pro-democracy protesters to a trade deal with China, a top administration priority.
Mr. Trump hailed President Xi jingping of China as “a great leader” and suggested a “personal meeting” could help solve the problem in Hong Kong. He also said “China is not our problem, though Hong Kong is not helping.”
“Of course China wants to make a deal,” he said. “Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!”
I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who is highly respected. He is also a good man in a “tough business.” I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?
[Here’s a guide to why people are protesting in Hong Kong and how the movement has evoked.]
Though the protests are going on for more than two months, as demonstrators have filled streets and jammed airport terminals in actions that have frequently ended with violent police crackdowns, Mr. Trump had all but ignored the situation, offering just tepid, short statements.
One day earlier, Mr. Trump took no stance when asked by reporters.
“The Hong Kong crisis is a very tough situation,” he said on Tuesday. “Very tough. We’ll see what happens. But I’m sure it’ll work out.”
He added: “I hope crisis resolves peacefully.”
He had previously called the protests “riots,” repeating language used by the Chinese government.
The White House’s restraint on the crisis has stood out in Washington, where the protests have been the source of a rare sight: broad bipartisan agreement.