Trump says HK protest movement will ‘take care of itself’ soon

Trump says China has made great progress in Hong Kong. (Reuters pic)

WASHINGTON: President Donald Trump said in an Oval Office meeting with China’s vice premier that he thinks protests in Hong Kong are winding down and that a partial trade accord the two leaders reached yesterday will be a “great deal” for the city’s residents.

“We discussed Hong Kong and I think great progress has been made by China in Hong Kong, and I’ve been watching and I actually told the vice-premier it really has toned down a lot from the initial days of a number of months ago when I saw a lot of people, and I see far fewer now,” Trump told reporters.

The president said of the demonstrations, “That’s going to take care of itself. This deal is a great deal for the people of Hong Kong to see what happened. This is a very positive thing for Hong Kong.”

There’s a “love fest” taking place between and Beijing and Washington, he added.

Hong Kong is bracing for another weekend of protests even as the city continued to clean up from a destructive wave of demonstrations last week that shut down malls, supermarkets and much of the transit system.

The protests began June 9 in opposition to Chief Executive Carrie Lam’s now-withdrawn legislation that would have allowed extraditions to mainland China.

Since then, the demonstrations have evolved into a push for greater democracy.

The issue jumped into the forefront of US debate over the past week after the general manager of the Houston Rockets basketball team tweeted support for the anti-Beijing protesters.

The tweet was quickly deleted, but it triggered a backlash from Chinese companies and fans, leading to an exhibition game on Thursday not being aired or streamed in China.