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Trump vague about whether he will veto bills that back Hong Kong protesters

Stock Markets Nov 22, 2019 04:52PM ET
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WASHINGTON (Reuters) - U.S. President Donald Trump was vague on Friday about whether he would sign or veto legislation to back protesters in Hong Kong as he tries to strike a trade deal with China, and boasted that he alone had prevented Beijing from crushing the demonstrations with a million soldiers.

In one of his most grandiose statements yet over relations with China, Trump 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 between the United States and China.

"If it weren’t for me Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes," Trump told Fox News Channel's "Fox & Friends" without offering any evidence.

"He’s got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in only because I ask him please don’t do it, you’ll be making a big mistake, it’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal and he wants to make a trade deal," Trump added, referring to Xi.

Trump was asked what he planned to do about calls for him to veto congressional legislation supporting the Hong Kong protesters that has angered China. He appeared to link it with the trade deal he has been seeking, but gave no clear answer.

"Look we have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi. He’s a friend of mine. He’s an incredible guy. We have to stand.

"But I’d like to see them work it out. Okay? We have to see them work it out. But I stand with Hong Kong, I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that we want to do.

"But we also are in the process of making the largest trade deal in history and if we could do that that would be great ... If it weren’t for me thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now and you wouldn’t have any riots you’d have a police state."

'OVERWHELMING VETO-PROOF MAJORITIES'

When Trump was later asked by reporters whether he would sign the Hong Kong legislation, which was passed unanimously in the Senate and received only one vote against in the House, he was again non-committal. "It's being sent over. We're going to take a very good look at it."

The legislation would require the State Department to certify, at least annually, that Hong Kong retains enough autonomy to justify the favorable U.S. trading terms that have helped it maintain its position as a world financial center. It also threatens sanctions for human rights violations.

A veto by the president can be overridden by two-thirds votes in both the Senate and the House. The legislation will automatically become law on Dec. 3 if Trump opts to do nothing.

A person familiar with the matter told Reuters on Wednesday that the president was likely to approve the Hong Kong legislation and its chief Senate sponsor, Republican Marco Rubio, predicted on Thursday that he would do so.

The White House did not provide any clarification of Trump’s comments.

The Dallas Morning News newspaper quoted Texas Republican Senator Ted Cruz as saying Congress would override any veto.

"President Xi and the Chinese Communist Party cannot silence the United States Congress," it quoted him as saying.

Senate Democratic Leader Chuck Schumer said Trump's 'deference' to Xi did not reflect the views of the American people or Congress.

"For a guy who promised to be tough on China, President Trump's reliable deference to President Xi is all the more bewildering. Being tough on China when it comes to human rights will also help us win the battle on trade,” he said.

Months of increasingly violent street protests in Hong Kong have raised fears that China might send troops from the mainland to crush the unrest, but there has been no sign of the massive intervention Trump referred to.

In August, Beijing moved thousands of troops into Hong Kong in an operation state news agency Xinhua described as a routine "rotation." The city's government has said the mainland army is not part of Hong Kong police operations to quell the demonstrations.

Trump vague about whether he will veto bills that back Hong Kong protesters
 

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Comments (8)
Bill Chan
Bill Chan Nov 23, 2019 6:58PM ET
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14 minutes solve 6 months protest is the only way to help Hong Kong
Dong Chang
Dong Chang Nov 23, 2019 5:23PM ET
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https://amp-scmp-com.cdn.ampproject.org/v/s/amp.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/3039060/14-minutes-obliterate-hong-kong-deconstructing-donald-trumps-bizarre?amp_js_v=a2&amp_gsa=1&usqp=mq331AQCKAE=#referrer=https://www.google.com&amp_tf=From %1$s&ampshare=https://www.scmp.com/news/hong-kong/article/3039060/14-minutes-obliterate-hong-kong-deconstructing-donald-trumps-bizarre
Jack AAA
Jack_A Nov 23, 2019 12:46PM ET
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just approve it, and welcome rioters to the USA
Timothy Yap
Timothy Yap Nov 22, 2019 8:12PM ET
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Must give credit to Trump for this one.
David David
David9 Nov 22, 2019 8:12PM ET
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I greed... Trump is absolutely correct on this one. He understand China has 1M strong and can easily go in and round up the Riots in less than 14 minutes. Plus Trump understand the difference between Protestors and Rioters. And he is 100% right to stand with President Xi on Hong Kong.
Andrew Hook
Andrew Hook Nov 22, 2019 6:56PM ET
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the Sun asks everyday to tRump if he could rise, so XI could make him a favor lol
Million Dollar
Million Dollar Nov 22, 2019 5:24PM ET
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When is this j e rk not vague about something related to the trade deal romance??
Bill Chan
Bill Chan Nov 22, 2019 5:05PM ET
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if you signed, you will see how the market go
Steven Chen
Gamer_LG Nov 22, 2019 4:10PM ET
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he can't veto is. cuz it was passed unanimously. Congress can override this veto easily.
Kim Andreasen
Kim Andreasen Nov 22, 2019 4:10PM ET
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Apparently he can. But they can still make it law if they can get 2/3 majority in both chambers. https://www.google.dk/amp/s/www.washingtonpost.com/business/2019/11/22/trump-says-he-might-veto-legislation-that-aims-protect-human-rights-hong-kong-because-bill-would-impact-china-trade-talks/?outputType=amp
 
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