Trump issues tough response to China's treatment of Hong Kong

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, hardening his stance on China as he struggles to contain the coronavirus, said on Tuesday he signed legislation and an executive order to hold China accountable for the 'oppressive' national security law it imposed on Hong Kong. Trump, acting on a Tuesday deadline, signed a bill approved by the U.S.

Reuters July 15, 2020 04:11:16 IST
Trump issues tough response to China's treatment of Hong Kong

Trump issues tough response to Chinas treatment of Hong Kong

By Jeff Mason and Steve Holland

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - President Donald Trump, hardening his stance on China as he struggles to contain the coronavirus, said on Tuesday he signed legislation and an executive order to hold China accountable for the "oppressive" national security law it imposed on Hong Kong.

Trump, acting on a Tuesday deadline, signed a bill approved by the U.S. Congress to penalize banks doing business with Chinese officials who implement Beijing’s new national security law on Hong Kong.

He said he also signed an executive order aimed at furthering punishing China for what he called its "oppressive actions" against Hong Kong.

It will end the preferential trade treatment Hong Kong has received for years - "no special privileges, no special economic treatment and no export of sensitive technologies," Trump told a news conference.

"Hong Kong will now be treated the same as mainland China," he said.

According to a White House fact sheet, the executive order includes revoking special treatment for Hong Kong passport holders.

Trump and Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who had lunch together at the White House on Tuesday, have blamed China for the spread of the coronavirus pandemic - which China denies - and have criticized Beijing for its Hong Kong crackdown.

The former British colony was returned to Chinese rule in 1997 with a law protecting freedoms of speech, assembly and the press until 2047.

The legislation Trump signed calls for sanctions on Chinese officials and others who help violate Hong Kong’s autonomy, and financial institutions that do business with those found to have participated in any crackdown on the city.

Trump faces a tough battle for re-election on Nov. 3 and his handling of the pandemic has drawn lukewarm support from Americans. Trump has blamed China for not doing enough to stop the spread of the virus.

"Make no mistake. We hold China fully responsible for concealing the virus and unleashing it upon the world. They could have stopped it, they should have stopped it. It would have been very easy to do at the source, when it happened," he said.

In his opening statement in the Rose Garden, Trump took aim at his Democratic rival in the election, former Vice President Joe Biden. Both candidates are constrained from active campaigning by the virus.

Pompeo was sharply critical on Monday of China's military buildup in the South China Sea, saying Beijing had offered no coherent legal basis for its ambitions there and that it had been bullying its neighbors.

“The world will not allow Beijing to treat the South China Sea as its maritime empire,” Pompeo said.

Trump's national security adviser, Robert O'Brien, is in Paris this week for talks with European officials about China and Chinese telecom firm Huawei Technologies Co Ltd , amid Western concerns that Huawei's technology poses a threat to national security.

(Reporting by Jeff Mason and Steve Holland; Additional reporting by David Brunnstrom, Alexandra Alper, Patricia Zengerle, Eric Beech and Makini Brice; Editing by Leslie Adler and Peter Cooney)

This story has not been edited by Firstpost staff and is generated by auto-feed.

Updated Date:

TAGS:

also read

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources
| Reuters
World

France, Germany to agree to NATO role against Islamic State - sources | Reuters

By Robin Emmott and John Irish | BRUSSELS/PARIS BRUSSELS/PARIS France and Germany will agree to a U.S. plan for NATO to take a bigger role in the fight against Islamic militants at a meeting with President Donald Trump on Thursday, but insist the move is purely symbolic, four senior European diplomats said.The decision to allow the North Atlantic Treaty Organization to join the coalition against Islamic State in Syria and Iraq follows weeks of pressure on the two allies, who are wary of NATO confronting Russia in Syria and of alienating Arab countries who see NATO as pushing a pro-Western agenda."NATO as an institution will join the coalition," said one senior diplomat involved in the discussions. "The question is whether this just a symbolic gesture to the United States

China's Xi says navy should become world class
| Reuters
World

China's Xi says navy should become world class | Reuters

BEIJING Chinese President Xi Jinping on Wednesday called for greater efforts to make the country's navy a world class one, strong in operations on, below and above the surface, as it steps up its ability to project power far from its shores.China's navy has taken an increasingly prominent role in recent months, with a rising star admiral taking command, its first aircraft carrier sailing around self-ruled Taiwan and a new aircraft carrier launched last month.With President Donald Trump promising a US shipbuilding spree and unnerving Beijing with his unpredictable approach on hot button issues including Taiwan and the South and East China Seas, China is pushing to narrow the gap with the U.S. Navy.Inspecting navy headquarters, Xi said the navy should "aim for the top ranks in the world", the Defence Ministry said in a statement about his visit."Building a strong and modern navy is an important mark of a top ranking global military," the ministry paraphrased Xi as saying.