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Buckle Up. Trump Says He’ll Announce China Moves in Friday News Conference

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks in the Oval Office of the White House on May 28. Photographer: Doug Mills/The New York Times/Bloomberg

BLOOMBERG, MAY 28, 2020

Trump’s top economic adviser said China made a ‘huge mistake’ | Pompeo said Hong Kong effectively lost its autonomy from China

By Josh Wingrove and Jordan Fabian for Bloomberg – President Donald Trump said he’ll announce new U.S. policies on China on Friday after the country passed a national security law curbing freedoms in Hong Kong. His top economic adviser said Beijing would be held accountable by the U.S.

“We’ll be announcing what we’re doing tomorrow with respect to China. And we are not happy with China. We are not happy with what’s happened,” Trump told reporters on Thursday, in answer to a question about whether the U.S. would remain in the “phase one” trade deal he signed with Chinese officials in January.

He said he’ll hold a news conference to discuss China on Friday. He didn’t specify a time and the White House didn’t immediately say.

“All over the world, people are suffering,” Trump said, referring to the coronavirus pandemic which he has sought to blame on Beijing. “One-hundred eighty-six countries, all over the world, they’re suffering. We’re not happy.”

China’s move to crack down on Hong Kong and Trump’s threats to retaliate have further escalated tensions between the world’s two largest economies. The countries have already traded insults and blame for the coronavirus pandemic, which began in the Chinese province of Hubei but has killed at least 100,000 Americans, far more deaths than China has reported.

China has made a “huge mistake” in passing the national security law regarding Hong Kong, Larry Kudlow, the director of the National Economic Council, said earlier Thursday in a CNBC interview.

“Essentially they have robbed Hong Kong of their freedom,” he said. “We can’t let this go unnoticed and they will be held accountable for that. If need be, Hong Kong may now have to be treated the same way China is treated.”

“China has made a huge mistake,” he added.

Secretary of State Michael Pompeo said Wednesday that Hong Kong has effectively lost its autonomy and no longer warrants special treatment under U.S. law. The declaration opens the door for Trump to impose penalties ranging from modest sanctions to try to curb China’s actions against its territory to revoking Hong Kong’s special trading status with the U.S.

The latter step would likely reorient global trade, plunge U.S.-China relations deeper into crisis and end any hope for a new trade deal between the world’s two largest economies.

Kudlow said that the “phase one” trade deal “does continue to go on for the moment and we may be making progress there. But I think their moves on Hong Kong are a very, very big mistake.”

— With assistance by Nick Wadhams, and Justin Sink

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