Still expect for US-China deal this past year: US official.
Nova Scotia: United States national security advisor Robert O’Brien stated on Saturday that a first trade arrangement with China is still possible by the close of the year, but cautioned Washington would not turn a blind eye on what happens in Hong Kong. The comments contribute 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 protracted trade war that has roiled international markets and exceeding global economic growth forecasts.
I still think that is possible,” O’Brien told reporters at a security conference in Halifax.
“At the same time, we are not going to turn a blind eye on what is happening in Hong Kong or what’s occurring in the South China Sea, or even different regions of the planet where we’re worried about China’s activity,” he explained. He explained that he hoped district elections in Hong Kong would move without violence. “That could be a good sign,” he explained.
President Donald Trump on Friday said he had told Chinese President Xi Jinping that devastating the Hong Kong protesters would have”a huge negative effect” on efforts to reach an accord to end a 16-month trade warfare. He has been vague about whether he’d sign or veto U.S. laws to back protesters in Hong Kong, and boasted that he alone had averted Beijing from crushing the demonstrations with a thousand soldiers.
O’Brien said he hadn’t spoken to Trump about Saturday about his decision regarding whether to signal the Hong Kong human rights invoice and didn’t know what he would do, but noted that the president had before early December to decide. The laws will automatically become law on Dec. 3 if Trump chooses to do nothing.
“I feel that the bill passed with a fairly significant majority, so I’m sure that’s something that the president is taking into consideration,” O’Brien explained. Asked what would be the reaction of the United States when China cracked down hard onto the protests, O’Brien said on Saturday:”I am hoping that does not happen.
“The true question is what’s the world ready to do about China when there’s that type of a crackdown? The United States will do its part,” he said. However, the deal’s completion could slide into next year, trade experts and people near the White House said this week, even since Beijing presses for broader tariff rollbacks, and Washington counters with increased requirements of its own.