President Trump said there is “a very good chance” to make a trade deal with China but that unrest in Hong Kong is “a complicating factor.”
“If it weren’t for me, thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now,” Trump said in a phone interview with the “Fox & Friends” program Friday. “The only reason he’s not going in is because I’m saying it’s going to affect our trade deal.”
“I stand with Hong Kong. I stand with freedom,” the president added. “But we’re also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history. And if we could do that, that would be great. China wants it, we want it.”
Trump wouldn’t say explicitly whether he would sign legislation backing Hong Kong’s protesters that passed unanimously in the Senate and with support from all but one Republican in the House. He had been expected to sign the measure as soon as Friday.
Chinese President Xi Jinping said earlier Friday his nation wants to work toward a “phase one” trade agreement with the U.S. on the “basis of mutual respect and equality,” his first comments on a partial deal he could potentially sign with Trump.
The Trump administration has import taxes in place on some $360 billion in goods from China and has threatened to impose new levies Dec. 15.
“The bottom line is we have a very good chance to make a deal,” Trump said Friday.
Asked about the Hong Kong unrest, Trump replied, “That’s a complicating factor, no question about it. If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in about 14 minutes.”