/Capitol Report: Pence condemns Beijing over Hong Kong, even as he waxes optimistic on a China trade pact

Capitol Report: Pence condemns Beijing over Hong Kong, even as he waxes optimistic on a China trade pact


Reuters

Vice President Mike Pence

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.

See: U.S. to blacklist Chinese artificial-intelligence companies.

As Pence was preparing to speak Thursday, Bloomberg News reported China is aiming to buy at least $20 billion of U.S. agricultural products in a year if it signs a partial trade deal.

U.S. stocks were mixed as Pence spoke, with the Dow Jones Industrial Average

DJIA, -0.32%

off 0.2% and the S&P 500 index

SPX, -0.05%

index rising 0.1%

Pence was originally expected to give the speech in June.

Original Source