WASHINGTON: In interviews on Tuesday (Aug 20), US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo reiterated Washington's calls for China to honour its one country, two systems commitment and called on Beijing to respect the right of demonstrators to protest.
"We very much want to make sure that those folks who have the desire in their hearts to protest, to speak out on behalf of their own freedom, their own liberty, can do so," he told CNBC's Squawk Box.
"They should do so in a peaceful way, and the Chinese government should respect their right to speak out in the way that they’re speaking out."
Speaking to CBS This Morning in a separate interview, Pompeo stressed the important US business interests in Hong Kong and added: "The impact on Hong Kong, if this isn’t resolved in a way that is peaceful and in accordance with those agreements, I think will be significant."
Pompeo highlighted weekend remarks by President Donald Trump warning against a crackdown like Beijing's bloody suppression of pro-democracy protests in Tiananmen Square in 1989.
Trump said this would make reaching a deal he has been seeking to end a trade war with China "very hard".
In an editorial on Tuesday, China’s influential state-run tabloid, The Global Times, called comments by US Vice President Mike Pence on Monday linking the trade talks to the Hong Kong protests "outrageous".
US tech giants Twitter and Facebook said on Monday they had dismantled a state-backed social media campaign originating in mainland China that sought to undermine protests in Hong Kong.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang declined direct comment on the Twitter and Facebook actions, but defended the right of Chinese people to make their voices heard.