Trump Says Signing Hong Kong Bill Doesn’t Make China Talks ‘Better’

U.S. President Donald Trump speaks to reporters as he departs for travel to the United Kingdom from the South Lawn of the White House in Washington, U.S., December 2, 2019. Jonathan Ernst/Reuters

U.S. President Donald Trump on Monday said U.S. legislation backing protesters in Hong Kong did not make trade negotiations with China easier, but added he believes Beijing still wants a deal with the United States.

“The Chinese are always negotiating,” Trump told reporters at the White House as he prepared to depart for a NATO summit in London. “I’m very happy where we are and frankly I could be other places that I could do all by myself and be even happier … but the Chinese want to make a deal. We’ll see what happens.”

Asked how a new U.S. law supporting protesters in Hong Kong impacted trade talks, Trump said: “It doesn’t make it better, but we’ll see what happens.”

Trump last week signed into law congressional bills that back protesters in Hong Kong and threaten China with possible sanctions on human rights, prompting China to warn of potential retaliation.

On Sunday, news site Axios reported the U.S.-China trade deal was stalled because of Trump signing the measure into law.

(Reporting by Alexandra Alper; Writing by Lisa Lambert and Susan Heavey; Editing by Chizu Nomiyama and David Gregorio)

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