U.S. President Donald Trump said Tuesday he hopes events in Hong Kong “go well” amid an ongoing trade dispute with China and the prospect of signing a bill that could derail negotiations.
“It’s going very well but at the same time we want to see it go well in Hong Kong and I think it will,” Trump told reporters in the Oval Office. “I think that President Xi [Jinping] can make that happen and I know him and I know we’d like to make it happen.”
The U.S. president now faces the prospect of signing a bill that garnered widespread bipartisan support in both chambers, and which supports Hong Kong protesters.
The legislation would authorize sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials accused of involvement in human rights abuses, and would mandate the State Department make annual assessments of Hong Kong’s privileged trade relationship with the U.S.
The Republican-held Senate unanimously approved the bill last Tuesday, following suit after the House passed it 417-1 last month.
Trump has wavered on his support for the bill, but Congress has more than enough vote to override a veto should he issue one.
The president announced an agreement on an interim trade deal with Beijing last month, billing it as a “phase one” agreement that he said had yet to be committed to paper.
International markets that had been rattled by the year-and-a-half trade war have largely reacted positively to the announcement ahead of its potential formal signing, which reports indicate could be dragged out until next year.
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