Hong Kong crisis: Donald Trump wades in as China soldiers mass on border
In Hong Kong, many protesters took the day off to prepare for Sunday’s massive rally which a million people are expected to attend. And US President Donald Trump entered the conflict by proposing a face-to-face meeting with Chinese counterpart Xi Jinping to find a “quick and humane” solution to the weeks of unrest in Hong Kong. In a series of tweets, Mr Trump appeared to link the outlook for trade talks with China with a resolution of the protests. “I know President Xi of China very well,” he said. “He is a great leader who very much has the respect of his people. He is also a good man in a ‘tough business’.”
“I have ZERO doubt that if President Xi wants to quickly and humanely solve the Hong Kong problem, he can do it. Personal meeting?”
Meanwhile, there was an escalation in diplomatic rhetoric as the Chinese foreign ministry’s office in Hong Kong condemned US politicians for “colluding with” extremists and violent offenders involved in the spiralling anti-government protests.
Liu Xiaoming, the Chinese ambassador to Britain, warned that the central government would have to act if the situation became “uncontrollable” and “would not sit on its hands and watch”.
Across the border in China, security forces could be seen moving in formation inside a football stadium and occasionally running, while others rode around outside on motorbikes.
Dozens of trucks and armoured personnel carriers were also lined up outside Shenzhen Bay Stadium in Shenzhen.
Hong Kong airport, which saw hundreds of flights cancelled on Tuesday after protests in the terminal, is now operating as normal.
In what was seen as a hopeful sign for the opposition, a leader of an earlier protest movement imprisoned on public disorder charges was yesterday released on bail.
Benny Tai was sentenced to 16 months in April as one of nine leaders zero put on trial for their part in a 2014 drive for universal suffrage known as the Umbrella Movement.
He was allowed to return home on £10,000 cash bail but was barred from leaving Hong Kong and will have his appeal heard in February, according to the court.
The Foreign Office last night urged restraint in Hong Kong and said the situation should not cause “friction” between China and the UK after allegations of interference from Beijing.
Foreign Office minister Andrew Murrison said: “There’s no dispute about the status of Hong Kong.
“This country and China have had very good relations in recent years, and have done a great deal together, and I look forward to doing even more in the years ahead.
“So, this should not be a cause of friction between us.
“I would urge restraint among those who have been engaged in violent behaviour over the past few days and I think we need to restore some calm to Hong Kong and proceed with dialogue.”
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