Pompeo Says China Should Respect Hong Kong Protesters' Rights

Jordan Fabian

(Bloomberg) -- Secretary of State Michael Pompeo called on China to respect Hong Kong demonstrators’ rights and to fulfill its pledge to uphold one country with two systems of government.

“President Trump captured this, I think, perfectly across the weekend when he said we support democracy, we support liberty,” Pompeo said in an interview Tuesday with “CBS This Morning.” “We very much want to make sure that those folks that have the desire in their hearts to protest -- to speak out on behalf of their own freedom, their own liberty, to do so.”

Pompeo said the protests, which have been ongoing for more than two months, should be conducted peacefully. “And the Chinese government should respect their right to speak out in a way that they’re speaking," he said.

The pro-democracy protesters came out in force on Sunday in a largely calm gathering that contrasted with violent clashes with police in previous weeks. Demonstrators oppose Beijing’s attempts to tighten control over the city.

Pompeo echoed President Donald Trump, connecting the demonstrations to the trade dispute between the U.S. and China.

"China needs to fulfill its promises,” he said. “One of the challenges in the trade deal is you have to make sure that China actually lives up to the commitments that it would make. In Hong Kong, this Chinese government made a promise that it has a central understanding that there’d be one country, two systems and they need to live up to that promise."

Pompeo also said the U.S. is concerned with North Korea’s recent missile tests and wishes they would be halted. He still said he hopes negotiations will resume with Pyongyang.

"We haven’t gotten back to the table as quickly as we would have hoped," he said.

To contact the reporter on this story: Jordan Fabian in Washington at jfabian6@bloomberg.net

To contact the editors responsible for this story: Kevin Whitelaw at kwhitelaw@bloomberg.net, Elizabeth Wasserman, Kathleen Hunter

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