Mike Pompeo Photograph:( Reuters )
The United States is working its way through a decision-making process over who would be held accountable over curbs to Hong Kong’s freedoms.
US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said on Friday that the way his country regards Hong Kong depends on the way China treats it.
Pompeo told the online Copenhagen Democracy Summit elections due to take place in Hong Kong in September would “tell us everything that we need to know about the Chinese Communist Party’s intentions with respect to freedom in Hong Kong.”
He also said the United States was working its way through a decision-making process over who would be held accountable over curbs to Hong Kong’s freedoms.
Last month, following Beijing’s move to impose a national security law on Hong Kong that critics said would undermine the city’s semi-autonomous status, US President Donald Trump removed Hong Kong’s special trading status.
While Pompeo refused to say what steps the White House might take – “I don’t want to foreclose anything the president might choose to do,” he said – he did stress that the US would monitor the Legislative Council elections in Hong Kong, now scheduled for September.
“I think that will tell us everything we need to know about the Chinese Communist Party’s intentions with respect to freedom in Hong Kong,” he said.
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“That’s not that far off,” he said. “We should all watch very closely whether those elections are permitted to take place in a free and fair fashion.
At the forum, which was hosted by Anders Fogh Rasmussen, the former secretary general of Nato, Pompeo also discussed his meeting on Wednesday in Hawaii with China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi.
During the session with Yang, Pompeo said, the Group of Seven’s statement on Hong Kong arrived, showing how united the major countries would be – and how “isolated” China would look – if it failed to honour the international obligations it had made.
“When I met with my Chinese counterpart, he could see it happening,” Pompeo said. “While we were meeting, a statement from all G7 members came out about Hong Kong.
Pompeo’s meeting with Yang was the first high-level face-to-face meeting between the world’s two biggest economies since the Covid-19 pandemic, which has escalated into another front in the countries’ geopolitical fight.