DONALD Trump warned China to work “humanely” with Hong Kong if it wants a trade deal and invited President Xi for a meeting via Twitter. The US Pre
DONALD Trump warned China to work “humanely” with Hong Kong if it wants a trade deal and invited President Xi for a meeting via Twitter.
The US President, who is embroiled in a trade war with China, has been criticised for not taking a tougher line with Beijing over Hong Kong.
Donald Trump has warned China to work ‘humanely’ with Hong Kong, pictured with Chinese President Xi Jinping[/caption]
But he has now urged a peaceful solution after US officials voiced concern over reports of Chinese paramilitary forces gathering near Hong Kong.
“I know President Xi of China very well. He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people,” Trump tweeted.
“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.”
Trump also used Twitter to suggest a personal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the crisis.
He said that if China wants a deal, it will have to “work humanely with Hong Kong first”.
Satellite image appears to show Chinese security force vehicles inside the Shenzen Bay Sports Centre, across the harbour from Hong Kong[/caption]
China’s state-run People’s Daily released a video of military vehicles being mobilised to a mainland city bordering Hong Kong[/caption]
Police used pepper spray and batons to disperse protesters at the airport[/caption]
Ten weeks of increasingly violent clashes between police and protesters have plunged the city into its worst crisis since it reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997.
Trump has faced mounting criticism from Congress for not taking a stronger public line with China over Hong Kong.
He also described the protests earlier this month as “riots” that were a matter for China to deal with.
His tougher stance came after the US State Department warned that continued erosion of the Hong Kong’s autonomy put at risk the preferential status it enjoys under US law.
Reports claim there was an internal debate within the White House over whether the US was looking too compliant as the Chinese appeared to be preparing for a crackdown.
A source familiar with the deliberations said while an even-handed approach was smart it was not the right signal to send in this case.
FREEDOM OF SPEECH UNDER THREAT
Earlier, a State Department spokeswoman said it was important for the Hong Kong government to respect “freedoms of speech and peaceful assembly”.
The spokesman added Beijing must adhere to its commitments to allow Hong Kong a high degree of autonomy.
She said the protests reflected “broad and legitimate concerns about the erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy.”
“The continued erosion of Hong Kong’s autonomy puts at risk its long-established special status in international affairs,” she said.
A 1992 US law affords Hong Kong preferential treatment in matters of trade and economics compared with China.
Areas of special treatment include visas, law enforcement and investment.
PARAMILITARY FORCES NEAR BORDER
A US official said Beijing had stationed large numbers of paramilitary People’s Armed Police (PAP) “near and further out from Hong Kong”.
The number of personnel was “in the thousands,” said the official, who did not want to be identified, and the aim appeared to be to intimidate the protesters.
He said protests had yet to reach a level that would compel Beijing to send them in. “I don’t think they’ve reached any tipping points,” the official said.
“They have amped up training and made it all pretty visible,” he said, but added: “There are no recent indicators that they are preparing to deploy.”
China’s state-run Global Times media outlet reported on Monday that People’s Armed Police had been assembling in Shenzhen, a city bordering Hong Kong, “in advance of apparent large-scale exercises.”
It cited video it had obtained showing numerous armoured personnel carriers (APCs), trucks and other vehicles on expressways heading in the direction of Shenzhen over the weekend.
It noted that the role of the PAP was “dealing with rebellions, riots, serious violent and illegal incidents, terrorist attacks and other social security incidents.”
Satellite images from Maxar Technologies showed dozens of vehicles, including what appeared to be APCs, at the Shenzhen Bay Sports Centre across the harbour from Hong Kong.
On Tuesday Trump cited American intelligence as saying that China was moving troops to its border with the former British colony.
He urged calm as clashes continued between protesters and authorities.
Senate Republican leader Mitch McConnell warned China on Monday that any violent crackdown on protests in Hong Kong would be “completely unacceptable.”