US vice president warns trade deal at risk if China cracks down in Hong Kong

Trump administration toughens stance over Hong Kong

US Vice President Mike Pence at Detroit Economic Club

US Vice President Mike Pence at Detroit Economic Club (AP photo)

TAIPEI (Taiwan News) – U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Monday (Aug. 19) warned China that the chances for a trade deal would diminish if it violently cracks down on the ongoing protests in Hong Kong

“For the United States to make a deal with China, Beijing needs to honor its commitments, beginning with the commitment China made in 1984 to respect the integrity of Hong Kong's laws through the Sino-British joint declaration,” Pence said in a speech at the Detroit Economic Club on Monday. “As the president said yesterday, it would be much harder for us to make a deal if something violent happens in Hong Kong,” CNN quoted him as saying.

Over the past week, President Trump struck a less neutral tone regarding the demonstrations in Hong Kong. He told the press Sunday (Aug. 18) that he would like to see the situation in Hong Kong “worked out in a very humanitarian fashion” and that Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) “sure has the ability” to peacefully reach a resolution.

Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) responded that Trump had said, “Hong Kong is a part of China, they’ll have to deal with [ongoing protests] themselves.” He expressed his hope that Trump “acts on what he said” and stays out of the matter.