WASHINGTON (REUTERS, AFP) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday (Aug 10) said he is not optimistic that China will rethink its position on Hong Kong, particularly after the arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai under Hong Kong's new national security law.
Pompeo told the Conservative Political Action Conference that the United States would take action to ensure that Washington treated Hong Kong as an extension of China.
"I'm not optimistic given what we saw this morning and what we've seen over the past week that they're going to change what they're doing," Pompeo said.
"But what we can be sure, and President Trump has said, is that to the extent the Chinese Communist Party treats Hong Kong as just another communist-run city, the United States will do the same. We're not going to allow Beijing to benefit from the harm they're imposing on the people of Hong Kong," he added.
Earlier Pompeo tweeted about being "deeply troubled" by Lai's arrest, accusing Beijing of an assault on rights and freedoms in the territory.
"I'm deeply troubled by reports of the arrest of @JimmyLaiApple under Hong Kong's draconian National Security Law," Pompeo tweeted, calling it "further proof that the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) has eviscerated Hong Kong's freedoms and eroded the rights of its people."
Lai's arrest comes amid Beijing's crackdown against pro-democracy opposition in the city and further stokes concerns about media and other promised freedoms when it returned to China in 1997.
China imposed the sweeping new security law on Hong Kong on June 30, drawing condemnation from Western countries.