Trump’s weak support of Hong Kong protesters gives China a ‘green light’ for a military crackdown


U.S. President Donald Trump walks towards reporters from the Marine One helicopter to speak to them as he boards Air Force One for travel to Pennsylvania from Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, New Jersey, U.S. August 13, 2019.    REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Donald Trump has offered tepid support for pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, which experts warn paves the way for China to use military force.
China has massed troops near the Hong Kong border amid the protests, which have turned violent at times and have brought the city’s airport to a standstill, increasing fears a Tiananmen-style crackdown is on the horizon.
“It’s a green light for Beijing to proceed with a crackdown (rather than, say, a flashing yellow) and emboldens other dictators and would be authoritarians as well,” Ian Bremmer, a geopolitical expert and president of the Eurasia Group, told INSIDER.
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President Donald Trump’s lackluster response to the increasingly chaotic situation in Hong Kong serves as a “green light” for China to squash ongoing pro-democracy protests with military force, experts warn.

China has massed troops near the Hong Kong border amid the protests, which have turned violent at times and have brought the city’s airport to a standstill, increasing fears a Tiananmen-style crackdown is on the horizon.

But in a break with previous presidents from both parties, Trump has so far avoided offering a defense of the protesters, and not offered an explicit warning to China against using military force. He’s been tough on China on trade, but soft when it comes to championing democracy.

Speaking with reporters on Tuesday, Trump adopted a nonchalant tone regarding Hong Kong.

“The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation, very tough. We’ll see what happens but I’m sure it will work out. I hope it works out for everybody — including China, by the way,” Trump said.

The president added, “I hope nobody gets hurt, I hope nobody gets killed.”

Subsequently, Trump took to Twitter and said he’s being blamed for the “problems” in Hong Kong. Trump in a separate tweet added, “Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!”

Comparatively, on the topic of trade Trump in recent days has accused Beijing of “killing” the US with “unfair trade deals,” also referring to China as an “anchor on us.”

Tough on trade, weak on democracy

The protests in Hong Kong began roughly 10 weeks ago in response to a controversial extradition law put forward by the Chinese government, but they’ve evolved into a broader critique and rejection of Beijing’s authority.

The situation has …read more


Source:: Business Insider

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