Capitol Report: Pence condemns Beijing over Hong Kong, even as he waxes optimistic on a China trade pact
Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday expressed hope for a near-term trade deal with China, but blasted Beijing for its intervention in Hong Kong and its treatment of Muslim-minority groups.
Delivering a speech in Washington, Pence said President Donald Trump believes China wants to make a trade deal soon and that the U.S. is seeking open markets and fair trade.
“We will continue to negotiate in good faith with China,” Pence said in a speech at the Woodrow Wilson Center.
But even as the speech began on a positive note, with Pence calling China a “strategic and economic rival,” the vice president’s talk took a more critical stance as offered a rebuke of the world’s second-largest economy for what he characterized as actions that “curtail the rights and liberties that Hong Kong’s people were guaranteed,” and called out abuse of Uighurs and other Muslim-minority groups in the Xinjiang region, a formally autonomous province in Northwestern China.
The Trump administration has taken a carrot-and-stick approach to China negotiations.
President Trump has suspended a tariff hike amid progress on so-called phase one of a trade deal with Beijing. On Wednesday, Trump described progress on an agreement as going “fantastically well.” Trump is aiming to sign a first-phase deal with China at the Nov. 16-17 APEC summit in Chile.
At the same time, Trump has been tightening screws on China over both human and intellectual properly.
Earlier this month the Commerce Department blacklisted a group of Chinese tech companies that develop facial recognition and other artificial intelligence technology that the U.S. says is being used to repress China’s Muslim minority groups.