Trump on Hong Kong protests: ‘I hope it works out for everybody’

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President Trump on Tuesday said he’s hopeful that clashes in Hong Kong between anti-government protesters and armed security forces end peacefully, offering a rare comment on the escalating tensions in the region.

“The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation, very tough,” Trump told reporters as he boarded Air Force One for a trip to Pennsylvania. “We’ll see what happens but I’m sure it’ll work out. I hope it works out for everybody — including China, by the way. I hope it works out for everybody.”

{mosads}Asked about concerns that China may be gathering military equipment and threatening to crack down on demonstrators in the territory, Trump reiterated he is optimistic that all sides will reach a satisfactory conclusion.

“I hope it works out for liberty, I hope it works out for everybody, including China,” he said. “I hope it works out peacefully. I hope nobody gets hurt. I hope nobody gets killed.”

The mass protests have forced the Hong Kong airport to suspend flights for two consecutive days.

The demonstrations began weeks ago in response to a since-suspended bill that would allow some citizens to be extradited to China. But the protests have grown increasingly tense and turned violent at times, with photos and videos of bloodied protesters circulating on social media.

Global watchdogs have expressed concerns that Trump’s rhetoric on the issue and lack of condemnation of violence is giving China a green light to take more severe actions against the protesters.

Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) issued a statement Monday warning China against attempting to “encroach on their autonomy and freedom.”

“Any violent crackdown would be completely unacceptable,” he said. “The world is watching.”

The United Nations’ top human rights official has condemned the violence surrounding the protests and urged both sides to settle the dispute.

Tags China demonstrations Donald Trump Hong Kong Hong Kong protests Mitch McConnell

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