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Deal breaker? US won't turn blind eye to China's actions worldwide

Filed on November 24, 2019

A Chinese crackdown on anti-government protests in HK could further complicate the efforts by the US and China.

United States national security adviser Robert O'Brien said on Saturday that an initial trade agreement with China is still possible by the end of the year, but warned Washington would not turn a blind eye to what happens in Hong Kong.

The comments add to growing worries that a Chinese crackdown on anti-government protests in Hong Kong could further complicate the efforts by the United States and China to end a prolonged trade war that has roiled global markets and undercut global economic growth forecasts.

"We were hoping to have [a phase one] deal done by the end of the year. I still think that's possible," O'Brien told reporters at a security conference in Halifax.

"At the same time, we're not going to turn a blind eye to what's happening in Hong Kong or what's happening in the South China Sea, or other areas of the world where we're concerned about China's activity," he said.

He said that he hoped district elections in Hong Kong would proceed without violence. "That would be a good sign," he said.

President Donald Trump on Friday said he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping that crushing the Hong Kong protesters would have "a tremendous negative impact" on efforts to reach an accord to end a 16-month trade war.

O'Brien said he had not spoken to Trump about his decision on whether to sign the Hong Kong human rights bill and did not know what he would do, but noted that the president had until early December to decide. The legislation will automatically become law on December 3 if Trump opts to do nothing.

US biggest source of instability

Meanwhile, the US is the biggest source of global instability, the Chinese foreign ministry reported China's top diplomat as saying.

Chinese State Councillor Wang Yi said US politicians are smearing China globally without providing evidence and using statecraft to suppress legitimate Chinese business interests.

Wang made the comments in a meeting with the Dutch Foreign Minister at a meeting of G20 foreign ministers in Japan, the ministry said. - Reuters

 


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