Trump says Xi can 'quickly and humanely solve' Hong Kong standoff

Trump says Xi can 'quickly and humanely solve' Hong Kong standoff

NEW JERSEY: US President Donald Trump on Wednesday (Aug 14) said Xi Jinping can "humanely" resolve the violent standoff with protesters in Hong Kong and appeared to suggest meeting the Chinese leader.

"I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it," Trump tweeted from vacation at his golf course in Bedminster, New Jersey.

READ: Hong Kong airport protesters 'overstepped bottom line of a civilised society': Government

In photos: Hong Kong airport protests turn violent after standoff over suspected undercover officer

"Personal meeting?" he added in what appeared to be an idea for offering his own help to Xi directly.

Trump also mentioned that he knew Xi "very well", describing him as "a great leader who very much has the respect of his people". 

"He is also a good man in a 'tough business'," said Trump. 

Protesters have staged 10 weeks of relentless protests to demand greater freedoms in Hong Kong, including rallies that paralyzed the semi-autonomous city's airport, one of the world's busiest travel hubs.

Hong Kong protests airport beatings journalist
Protesters surround a man carrying a T-shirt bearing the words "I love police" who protesters claimed was a police officer from mainland China, during a demonstration at the Hong Kong airport on Aug 13, 2019. (Photo: AP/Vincent Yu)

The United States has said it is "deeply concerned" over Chinese security force movements on the border with Hong Kong and urged Beijing to honor the territory's autonomy.

Under a 1997 deal that saw Hong Kong return to China from British colonial rule, the city is meant to have far greater liberties than those allowed on the mainland.

An hour before, Trump also seemed to link a trade deal with Beijing to the "humane" resolution of the standoff with Hong Kong protesters.  

"Millions of jobs are being lost in China to other non-tariffed countries. Thousands of companies are leaving. Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!" he wrote on Twitter.

Washington and Beijing have imposed tariffs on US$360 billion in two-way trade, but Trump has delayed tariffs on electronic goods from China, giving investors hope for a detente in the trade conflict.

Source: AFP/ad