United States President Donald Trump suggested on Friday that he might veto legislation designed to support pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong, despite it having been passed in the US House of Representatives by a vote of 417 to 1.
In an interview to Fox News, Trump said that he was balancing competing priorities, namely the trade deal and ongoing Hong Kong protests, in the US-China relationship, the Washington Post points out in a report.
"We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I'm also standing with President Xi [Jinping]; he's a friend of mine. He's an incredible guy, but we have to stand ... I'd like to see them work it out, okay?" Trump said. "I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things that I want to do, but we are also in the process of making one of the largest trade deals in history. And if we could do that, it would be great."
The Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act authorises sanctions on Chinese and Hong Kong officials involved in human rights abuses. In addition, it requires the State Department to conduct an annual review of the special autonomous status that the US grants Hong Kong in trade matters.
The bill was passed in the US House of Representatives by a vote of 417 to 1 earlier this week. The passing of the bill has come at a time when the US and China are involved in trade negotiations to strike a deal.
During the interview, Trump claimed that he prevented Hong Kong from being 'obliterated' by the Chinese troops by asking his Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to not send military against pro-democracy demonstrators in the financial hub.
"If it weren't for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes," Trump claimed. "He (Chinese President Xi Jinping) got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren't going in only because I asked him, 'please don't do that, you'll be making a big mistake. It's going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal'."
( With inputs from ANI )