US President Donald Trump stressed today that his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, "acted responsibly" regarding the major demonstrations in Hong Kong against a proposed extradition law that would make it easier for refugees to be sent to Beijing.
"I think President Xi of China has acted responsibly, very responsibly. They have been protesting for a long time," Trump said in statements to reporters at the White House as he was welcoming Pakistani Prime Minister Imran Khan.
"I know this is a very important situation for President Xi (...). If China wanted, it could stop the protesters," added Trump, who took a cautious tone over the street protests in Hong Kong.
On Sunday, tens of thousands of people returned to the streets to demand reforms.
The protests, which began seven weeks ago, evolved from challenging the extradition law, which allowed "fugitives" or suspected who took refuge in Hong Kong to be sent to China, to broader claims about improving the democratic mechanisms of the city, whose sovereignty was restored by China in 1997 with a commitment to maintain until 2047 the structures erected by the British colonization.
Critics believe the law will intimidate and penalize critics and dissidents of the Chinese regime, while its advocates say it seeks to fill a legal vacuum because there are no legal extradition formulas between Taiwan, Hong Kong and mainland China.
However, several analysts believe that China is trying to accelerate the assimilation process of the former British colony, a process that is strongly opposed by some of Hong Kong's population.
The US and China are engaged in a trade war over Trump's protectionist measures since his coming to power.
In late June, Trump and Xi agreed to set a new truce in the trade war during the G20 meeting in Japan, with Washington freezing the imposition of new tariffs on China and allowing US companies to sell Huawei technology products.
However, the US will maintain tariffs on Chinese products worth $ 250 billion (€ 222 billion), while China continues to maintain its tariffs on various US imports in a total of $ 110 billion dollars (98 billion euros).