The director of Trump’s National Economic Council is watching the events in Hong Kong closely—particularly China’s role in the suppression of protesters there. With the future of U.S.-China trade up in the air, he is questioning China’s commitment to any kind of liberalization.
“Is it Tiananmen Square? Not exactly. Does it make one think of Tiananmen Square? How many years ago? Thirty years ago? (Thirty years anniversary) Yeah, it makes one think of Tiananmen square and the battle over freedom,” Larry Kudlow said.
On Wednesday, Hong Kong police violently suppressed the protests against the proposed extradition bill, raising international attention. Kudlow said the incident makes people cast more doubt on China’s hierarchy. “Do they want the kind of liberalization that we are pressing for on the trade front? And when you see what’s going on in Hong Kong, you kind of raise your eyebrows, ‘I think you are.'”
Kudlow said that in the recent U.S.-China trade negotiations, after Beijing suddenly overthrew the commitments they already made, the word “unbalanced” began to appear a lot in China’s rhetoric.
“We can’t have the so called ‘balanced’ agreement because we have such an unbalanced relationship. I mean we are asking for a corrected and remedies for the existing inbalances,” Kudlow said. From the perspective of international trade rules, there are many wrongs that need to be righted, he said. U.S. leaders from both major political parties have accepted this situation for too long, and they should adopt tough tactics to force China to change.
“You know sometimes you gotta get up there and as I say ‘kick some butt’ to make change and change is hard,” Kudlow said.
Trump said early this week that he expected to meet Xi Jinping at the G20 summit later this month. If Xi fails to meet him, he says he will impose tariffs on the $300 billion dollars worth of Chinese imports “immediately.”