US President Donald Trump has tweeted that the trade war between China and US will only be wrapped up if Chinese President Xi Jinping finds a humane resolution to the Hong Kong protests. Trump also proposed that the he and President Xi should have a “personal meeting” to discuss the protest situation.
Amidst criticism from around the world regarding the treatment of Hong Kong protesters by the Chinese government, Trump had mostly stayed silent. With the protests raging on for three months, Hong Kong protesters created a situation where the Hong Kong international airport services were shut down. With the situation getting worse Trump has finally interjected.
With thousands of Chinese losing their jobs and the rapid devaluation of Chinese currency, China is desperate to end the trade war. Trump is leveraging this desperation to push his pro-Hong Kong agenda. Trump did not directly state that US-China trade talks would depend on China’s treatment of the Hong Kong protest. However, his statement “Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!” sends a strong message.
Beijing seems to be losing patience with the Hong Kong situation. Chinese government officials are constantly likening the demonstrations to “signs of terrorism.” Clashes between the police and the protesters at Hong Kong airport strengthened the Chinese claims of the protests being terror activities.
Satellite images showed that Chinese military forces have surrounded Hong Kong. Some paramilitary drills were being carried out at one of the stadiums in Shenzhen, a city which borders Hong Kong.
China continues to threaten the protesters using government-run media. People’s Daily criticised the Hong Kong Airport clashes and claimed that those behind the Hong Kong protests should be afraid of the 1.4 billion Chinese people. Government-run media also claims that the protests are being fuelled by Western countries, primarily the US.
Trump and other world leaders have urged Beijing to remain patient and handle the matter carefully. While Trump stated that the protests in Hong Kong are an internal matter, he also hopes that Xi will find a quick and humane solution.