Security analyst calls Trump’s language on Hong Kong protests ‘inappropriate’

Security analyst Gordon Chang on Tuesday criticized President Trump’s language on ongoing protests in Hong Kong, saying the U.S. has a much more vested interest in the embattled city than what the president has indicated.

“That language I thought was inappropriate on the part of the president,” Chang said in an appearance on Hill.TV in response to a question over Trump’s suggestion that the tensions between China and Hong Kong should be treated as an internal dispute.

“This is not just a dispute between Hong Kong and China,” Chang continued. “There’s a broader issue and that is China is attacking freedom and Democracy, including ours across the board.”

Hill.TV reached out to a White House spokesperson for comment.

The U.S. — and the international community at large — has largely stayed out of the dispute and instead called for both sides to show restraint.

“Hong Kong is a part of China, they’ll have to deal with that themselves,” Trump told reporters earlier this month while campaigning in Ohio in response to reports that China might intervene in the city.

Trump also previously offered support to Chinese President Xi Jinping as the demonstrations heated up last month. The two leaders are in the middle of trade negations that have dragged on for months.

“I think President Xi of China has acted responsibly, very responsibly,” he added. “I hope that President Xi will do the right thing but it has been going on a long time.”

But Chang maintains that the former British colony represents the “front line of freedom” and the U.S. needs to step up.

“We need a ringing declaration from the president of the United States, which says that essentially if China uses force in Hong Kong, it will result in the most severe sanctions,” he told Hill.TV.

Chang’s comments come as protestors have flooded the airport in Hong Kong for a second day amid ongoing anti-government protests.

According to the Associated Press, Hong Kong’s international airport had to cancel all remaining flights out of the city for the second day in a row due to protests over political demands, including calls for Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam to step down.

The recent protests were sparked by a proposed extradition bill that would allow citizens of Hong Kong to be sent to mainland China for criminal trials.

Though this extradition bill has since been suspended indefinitely, protestors have demanded that authorities apologize for their handling of the situation. The United Nations is now backing an independent investigation into police tactics against Hong Kong protestors.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) warned China on Monday not to overreact against the protests as tensions continue to rise, warning “the world is watching.”

“The people of Hong Kong are bravely standing up to the Chinese Communist Party as Beijing tries to encroach on their autonomy and freedom,” McConnell tweeted. “Any violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable.”

— Tess Bonn

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