tirsdag 26. mai 2020

US outrage over national security law for Hong Kong puts Donald Trump and China trade talks in an awkward spot

If you missed the statement last week from the US Trade Representative’s office about hopeful progress in its phase-one deal with China, that’s entirely understandable. It came through quietly amid the uproar created by the Beijing’s plan to promulgate a new national security law for Hong Kong and the international response to the move.

“These are difficult times for both our countries. It is important that we each continue to work to make our agreement a success,” the USTR said in a statement, while the US State Department was railing against the National People’s Congress move. A discordant note of optimism drowned in a chorus of opprobrium.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo must deliver his verdict soon on whether Hong Kong is sufficiently autonomous to retain the different trading status Hong Kong has with the United States, compared with mainland China.The passage last year of the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act, which US President Donald Trump had no choice but to sign given overwhelming, bipartisan support for the bill, gives Pompeo more flexibility in what countermeasures he can take.