To punish China, Trump moves to end Hong Kong privileges

(TRUMP) “China has replaced its promised formula of one country, two systems with one country, one system.”

U.S. President Donald Trump on Friday aimed some of his toughest rhetoric yet against China - saying it had broken its word over Hong Kong’s autonomy.

And to punish China for its plans to impose new security legislation there - Trump said he would begin the process of eliminating special treatment for Hong Kong.

(TRUMP) "We will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate customs and travel territory from the rest of China.”(flash)

"The United States will also take necessary steps to sanction PRC and Hong Kong officials directly or indirectly involved in eroding Hong Kong's autonomy and just - if you take a look - smothering - absolutely smothering - Hong Kong's freedom.”

This - after China's announcement of a plan to impose new national security legislation on Hong Kong set off angry protests.

Trump gave no time frame for his actions, but said they would - quote - “affect the full range of agreements” that the United States has with Hong Kong… from the U.S. extradition treaty to export controls.

(TRUMP) “Our actions will be strong, our actions will be meaningful.”

Following the bombshell announcement - China’s Global Times newspaper called it a ‘recklessly arbitrary move’.

And earlier - Hong Kong's Beijing-backed government told the U.S. to keep out of the debate… warning that a withdrawal of the financial hub's special status under U.S. law could backfire on the American economy.