WASHINGTON D.C., Aug 15, 2019, SCMP. US President Donald Trump on Wednesday appeared to propose a face-to-face meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to find a “quick” and “humane” solution to the weeks of unrest in Hong Kong, reported the South China Morning Post.
In a series of tweets on Wednesday night Washington time, Trump also appeared to link the outlook for trade talks with China with a resolution of the Hong Kong protests.
“I know President Xi of China very well,” Trump said. “He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. 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?”
Trump also claimed that the US has the advantage in the bilateral tariff war that he started more than a year ago to erase the US trade deficit with China.
China is “eating the tariffs with the devaluation of their currency and ‘pouring’ money into their system,” the US leader said.
“Millions of jobs are being lost in China to other non-Tariffed countries. Thousands of companies are leaving. Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!”
In the series of tweets, Trump covered a range of topics, from the trade talks with China to US Federal Reserve monetary policy and to the Hong Kong protests, and appeared to link them all.
Millions of jobs are being lost in China to other non-Tariffed countries. Thousands of companies are leaving. Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!
He did not, however, explicitly state that the outlook for the trade talks would depend on China’s response to the Hong Kong protests.
Trump, though, did again hit out at the US Federal Reserve for not cutting interest rates more aggressively.
“China is not our problem, though Hong Kong is not helping. Our problem is with the Fed. Raised too much & too fast. Now too slow to cut…”
US stock fell sharply on Wednesday on rising worries that Trump’s move to delay some of the tariffs that were set to be imposed on China in September would not be enough to keep the escalating US-China trade conflict from pushing the world into recession.
The Dow Jones Industrial Average fell more than 3 per cent, while the S&P 500 dropped 2.9 per cent.
The US Federal Reserve cut US interest rates by a quarter of a percentage point on July 31, but Trump said last week that he wanted the central bank to cut rates by a full percentage point to boost the economy.
Trump made his comments after statements by US lawmakers and other world leaders, including German Chancellor Angela Merkel, calling for restraint amid signs that Beijing was losing patience with demonstrators in Hong Kong.
US Representative Michael McCaul, the lead Republican on the House Foreign Affairs Committee, issued a joint statement with the committee’s chairman Eliot Engel earlier on Wednesday, which connected Beijing’s threatening posture towards Hong Kong demonstrators to the mainland Chinese government’s violent response to pro-democracy demonstrations in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
“30 years after the Chinese Communist Party’s brutal massacre of peaceful democratic protesters in Tiananmen Square, we are concerned that China would consider again brutally putting down peaceful protests,” Engel and McCaul said.
The US State Department also said it was “deeply concerned” with reports of Chinese forces massing on the border with Hong Kong and urged Beijing to respect the territories autonomy.
US Senate Democratic leader Charles Schumer also called for support for Hong Kong.
“It is unacceptable that President @realDonaldTrump is not standing up to Beijing as it intensifies its crackdown on human rights in Hong Kong,” he said in a tweet.
“He needs to make it clear that America stands shoulder to shoulder with the people of Hong Kong who want democracy and freedom.”