“They dismantled the United States like nobody else had done before,” said Trump, choosing Beijing as a central foil, as Beijing decided to “push our factories” and “demolish” the American industry. to oppose.
Trump called China “spying to steal our industrial secrets with many,” he took steps to protect American investors from China’s financial practices, and accused Beijing of “claiming illegal land in the Pacific Ocean” and threatening freedom of navigation.
The President is on a number of other fronts, including preventing “some foreign nationals from China” from entering the US and sanctioning their direct or indirect roles in China and Hong Kong’s authorities to “strangle” Hong Kong’s freedoms. said he would act. .
“US-China relations are in a complete crisis,” said the new American Security Center CEO Richard Fontaine. “We hit the ground and continue to fall. Beijing will retaliate in response to the Hong Kong steps taken by the administration, and then the ball will return to the President’s court. Things will get worse – potentially much worse – before it gets better.”
Trump’s announcement was a multi-piece salvo, which has been increasingly in conflict with trade, telecommunications, media, student visas, the South China Sea, coronavirus, and recently the problem of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
The Cantonese-speaking settlement was handed over from the UK to China in order to maintain Hong Kong’s autonomy in domestic matters, including the judiciary, and to ensure that its citizens vote for their leaders.
“This week China unilaterally took control of Hong Kong security,” said Trump on Friday, “a clear violation of Beijing’s obligations to deal with the UK,” said Trump.
As a result, Trump said that Hong Kong “is no longer autonomous enough to guarantee the special treatment we give to the region” and its administration will “initiate the process of eliminating policy exemptions that give Hong Kong different and special treatment”.
Trump said the direction would affect the “full diversity” of its deals, including the US return agreement with Hong Kong, export controls on dual-use technologies, and more. The U.S. said they would cancel Hong Kong’s preferential traditions and travel status.
Chad Bown, a senior man at Peterson’s International Institute of Economics, said canceling Hong Kong’s special status and expanding Trump’s tariffs in the enclave would “have little effect” and imported less than $ 5 billion in the US in 2019. Trump from Hong Kong could hit new tariffs.
China will return
In comparison, the US imported $ 452 billion worth of goods from China in 2019. Bown pointed out that Beijing could return in a way that could harm American companies.
“Ironically, it would be more effective for trade if China responded with the rise and forced seizure of Hong Kong’s trade policy,” Bown said. Said. “Beijing would somehow extend retaliation tariffs that would have a greater impact, as Beijing exports over Hong Kong to over $ 30 billion a year.”
Trump also said that the State Department’s Hong Kong travel advisory will be “revised to reflect the increased threat of surveillance and punishment of the Chinese state security apparatus”.
Some former officials said Trump’s reaction could harm Hong Kong residents.
“The provisions regarding Hong Kong in Trump’s statement were very uncertain and continue to see how quickly and comprehensively they are implemented,” said Danny Russel, former deputy head of the National Security Council. At the Asian Community Policy Institute. “However, it is not clear that removing the special status of Hong Kong would make things better for the people we want to help, and could actually accidentally speed up the loss of autonomy.”
‘Thick’ and suitable
Others offered praise.
“The President’s response to Hong Kong is bold and I think it is appropriate,” said Fontaine, a former Foreign Ministry and NSC official. “Beijing, acting to end Hong Kong’s separate political system, should trigger an American response, including ending Hong Kong’s special economic situation. The administration is zigging and zagging questions about democracy and human rights abroad.
Trump was widely expected to impose a restriction on Chinese students who come to the US to read about 350,000 each year, and senior Cabinet officials stated that the limits on their entrance would be just one of the few actions the President would do.
In an interview with Fox News on Thursday, Foreign Minister Mike Pompeo said that Trump will make “a series of announcements about China” in the coming days, and said visa restrictions may be among the Chinese graduate students and researchers.
Shortly after Trump’s remarks, the White House issued a presidential declaration for graduate and postgraduate students and researchers from the United States that will take effect on Monday at noon and remain in effect until terminated by the President.
“Some Chinese students, most postgraduate students and post-doctoral researchers, use it to work as non-traditional collectors of intellectual property,” officials in the People’s Republic of China said. These students said, “They pose a particular concern, with a high risk of exploitation or collaboration by PRC officials.”
The declaration is to allow these students to enter the US “Doing research or doing research in the USA will be detrimental to the interests of the United States.”
Trump’s announcement on Friday is the latest limit that its administration applies to Chinese students and other Chinese organizations.
In 2018, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs issued new time restrictions on visas, which are considered sensitive to national security for Chinese graduate students such as aviation, robotics, and advanced manufacturing, and scale the time students can stay for more than five years. one.
CNN’s Jason Hoffman, Jennifer Hansler and Kylie Atwood contributed to this report.
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