U.S. President Donald Trump on Aug. 18 called for a peaceful end to the monthslong protests in Hong Kong, warning that a violent resolution to the issue would "put pressure" on a potential trade deal with China.
"I'd like to see [the] Hong Kong [issue] worked out in a very humanitarian fashion," Trump told reporters, adding that a peaceful end to the protests "would be very good for the trade deal." Conversely, a violent crackdown on protesters could negatively affect the chances of reaching a trade agreement as there would be "tremendous political sentiment not to do something."
"It would be much harder for me to sign a deal if he did something violent," Trump said, referring to Chinese President Xi Jinping and the political unrest in Hong Kong.
Trade deputies from the U.S. and China are scheduled to have discussions over the phone within the next 10 days, and depending on how the talks go, Chinese officials would be invited to Washington for further negotiations, U.S. National Economic Council Director Larry Kudlow told Fox News Sunday.
"We are doing very well with China, and talking!," Trump tweeted Aug. 18. He told reporters the same day that he was "just not ready to make a deal yet" with China.