Pence urges China to respect Hong Kong laws amid protest

US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday warned if 'something violent happens in Hong Kong' it would make it harder for the US to make a deal with China on trade.
In a picture taken on Aug 1, 2019, Vice President Mike Pence speaks to employees at a Manitowoc crane facility in Shady Grove.
In a picture taken on Aug 1, 2019, Vice President Mike Pence speaks to employees at a Manitowoc crane facility in Shady Grove.PHOTO: AP

WASHINGTON (REUTERS) - US Vice President Mike Pence urged China on Monday (Aug 19) to respect the integrity of Hong Kong's laws and repeated US President Donald Trump's warning that it will be harder for the United States to make a trade deal with Beijing if there was violence in the Chinese-ruled city.

"For the United States to make a deal with China, Beijing needs to honor its commitments, including the commitment China made in 1984 to respect the integrity of Hong Kong's laws through the Sino-British Joint Declaration," Pence said in an address at the Detroit Economic Club.

"And our administration will continue to urge Beijing and the demonstrators to resolve their differences peaceably," Pence said in remarks prepared for delivery.

Trump hinted on Sunday that the White House would like to see Beijing resolve the Hong Kong protests before any agreement on trade is reached.

"I would like to see Hong Kong worked out in a very humanitarian fashion," Trump said. "I think it would be very good for the trade deal."

China's influential state-controlled tabloid Global Times said late on Monday that the United States cannot influence China's decisions in handling the situation in Hong Kong .

"Political and public opinion elites in the US must understand that although they have the ability to instigate Hong Kong's radical protesters and make it harder for Hong Kong to restore order, they absolutely cannot influence Beijing's decisions on Hong Kong's situation", it said in an editorial.

The Global Times said China was hoping Hong Kong’s internal forces are able to restore order with the support of the central government, but that “strong intervention” from China will be the only choice if Hong Kong is unable to do so. 

 
 
 
 

It said the ongoing talks between Beijing and Washington to resolve their trade dispute had “already been difficult” for the United States and that it cannot “afford any other burden”. 

The trade war has resulted in an erosion of the US ability to impose additional pressure on China, the editorial added.

The editorial comes as Hong Kong is gearing up for further demonstrations this week after organisers said 1.7 million people attended Sunday's protest.

The Hong Kong protests, which have presented one of the biggest challenges for Chinese President Xi Jinping since he came to power in 2012, began in June as opposition to a now-suspended bill that would allow suspects to be extradited to mainland China for trial in Communist Party-controlled courts.

They have since swelled into wider calls for democracy.