Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said during a press call Wednesday afternoon that his decision to declare Hong Kong no longer autonomous from China was made with ‘great sadness’ but that it merely ‘reflects the facts.’
Pompeo released the statement, which is required annually by Congress, on Wednesday morning. The statement indicated that China had violated Hong Kong’s autonomy to such a point that the United States would likely be forced to strip its special trading status. The move could also severely affect China economically, as they often use Hong Kong as a middleman for international trading.
‘Things have deteriorated significantly in these last months,’ Pompeo said on the call. ‘And it simply wasn’t the case that there was any way that one could reasonably certify that there was, in fact, a high degree of autonomy for the people of Hong Kong. It gives me great sadness.’
Hong Kong has been rocked with protests for months as citizens claimed China was not granting them the freedom guaranteed to them under the Sino-British Joint Declaration. The Trump administration’s willingness to step in against China has seemingly been amplified by the country’s lack of transparency and outright deception with the World Health Organization over the COVID-19 outbreak. Pompeo revealed that President Trump is currently reviewing a set of recommendations for further action against China for their violation of Hong Kong’s autonomy.
‘This is a pattern,’ Pompeo asserted. ‘And the Chinese Communist party will need to be held accountable for the things that they’ve done.’
Pompeo and Assistant Secretary of State for the Bureau of East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell pushed back on reporting that suggested the US will be to blame if the statement declaring Hong Kong no longer autonomous harms the region.
‘They weren’t decisions made by America. Those were decisions made by…the Chinese Communist party. So any harm that should befall the people of Hong Kong is a direct result of actions that the Chinese Communist party took,’ Stilwell said.