US Secretary of Commerce Wilbur Ross described the HK problem as Beijing’s “internal affair” and rejected any connection with the US-China trade dispute. But not only opposition Democrats have expressed their displeasure that the President is not clearly on their side.
Even prominent Republicans and conservative commentators call for Donald Trump to make a clear commitment to democracy and freedom. Finally, on Wednesday evening Trump first established a connection between the trade dispute and the protests in the former British colony.
Trump wrote on Twitter, “Of course China wants to close a deal. Do you want to take care of Hong Kong first? “Trump also suggested an American-Chinese summit meeting. “I know China’s President Xi very well,” he wrote in another tweet. “He is a great statesman who enjoys the respect of his people and he is a good man in a ‘hard business’. I have no doubt that President Xi could solve the HK problem quickly and humanely if he wants. Personal meeting?”
From many sides at once information hailed on Trump that Xi never engage in negotiating with the US president about the “internal issue” of Hong Kong. But perhaps he had just been misunderstood and had rather wanted to initiate a “personal meeting” between Xi and the protesters.
Donald John Trump did that on Thursday: “If President Xi met with the demonstrators directly and personally,” Trump said in a new tweet, “then there would be a happy and enlightened end to the HK problem. I have no doubts! “Later, the US President added,” He (Trump) will solve the problem.
Either way, Trump must have pursued two main goals: to dampen the criticism of his policy of non-interference and to push Beijing into the black market in the trade dispute. This week Trump had been forced to make an embarrassing backslide.
Donald Trump postponed the tariffs announced for September on smartphones, laptops, and other consumer goods so as not to spoil US retailers’ Christmas party ahead of the presidential election.
Never before Trump had to admit so clearly that the tariffs by no means hit only China, but also American consumers. As far as known, the US President received no compensation for his retreat from Beijing.
The “good man” Xi obviously wants to be able to sit out the Trump presidency and its tariff escalation. If Trump now links the trade dispute with HK problem, he can use the domestic policy to blame Beijing for lack of progress.