FOREIGN POLICY | Issued on: October 24, 2019
11:07 A.M. EDT
HONG KONG EXCERPTS
THE VICE PRESIDENT:
And as millions have taken to the streets in peaceful protest, we’ve spoken out on behalf of the people of Hong Kong. And President Trump has made it clear from early on that there must be a peaceful resolution that respects the rights of the people of Hong Kong, as outlined in the 1984 Sino-British Joint Declaration.
Hong Kong has served as an important gateway between China and the wider world for 150 years. Hong Kong is one of the freest economies in the world, with strong, independent legal institutions and a lively free press, and it’s home to hundreds of thousands of foreign residents.
Hong Kong is a living example of what can happen when China embraces liberty. And yet, for the last few years, Beijing has increased its interventions in Hong Kong and engaged in actions to curtail the rights and liberties of its people — rights and liberties that were guaranteed through a binding international agreement of “one country, two systems.”
But President Trump has been clear, as he said in his words, “The United States stands for liberty.” (Applause.) We respect the sovereignty of nations. But America expects Beijing to honor its commitments, and President Trump has repeatedly made it clear it would be much harder for us to make a trade deal if the authorities resort to the use of violence against protestors in Hong Kong. (Applause.)
Since then, I’m pleased to observe that Hong Kong authorities have withdrawn the extradition bill that sparked the protests in the first place, and Beijing has shown some restraint.
In the days ahead, I can assure you, the United States will continue to urge China to show restraint, to honor its commitments, and respect the people of Hong Kong. And to the millions in Hong Kong who have been peacefully demonstrating to protect your rights these past months, we stand with you. (Applause.) We are inspired by you, and we urge you to stay on the path of nonviolent protest. (Applause.) But know that you have the prayers and the admiration of millions of Americans.