Vice President Mike Pence slammed the Chinese regime for curtailing “rights and liberties” in the city of Hong Kong, during a major policy address on Oct. 24, while reaffirming U.S. commitment to standing up for those values.
In a roughly 40-minute speech on the future of U.S.–China relations, Pence reprimanded Beijing for its unethical trade practices and human rights abuses, but noted that the United States would push for a cooperative relationship with China based on “fairness, mutual respect, and the international rules of commerce.”
“Nothing in the past year has put on display the Chinese Communist Party’s antipathy to liberty so much as the unrest in Hong Kong,” Pence said at the Wilson Center in Washington.
“Hong Kong is a living example of what can happen when China embraces liberty,” Pence said, while noting the city’s status as an international financial hub, its legal institutions, and “lively free press,” are things that people in mainland China do not enjoy.
“And yet, for the last few years, Beijing has increased its interventions in Hong Kong,” Pence said. The territory reverted from British to Chinese rule in 1997, with the express guarantee that its autonomy and freedoms be preserved.
He said that the United States supports the protesters in their fight for liberty. President Donald Trump has previously warned Beijing that a trade deal would be more difficult if Beijing decided to take a hard line and violently suppress the ongoing protests, he added.
“To the millions in Hong Kong who have been peacefully demonstrating to protect your rights in the past months, we stand with you, we are inspired by you, and we urge you to stay on the path of nonviolent protest,” he said.
Pence made the remarks as the two economic superpowers are working on a new round of trade negotiations. On Oct. 11, Trump announced that the two sides had reached a partial deal on intellectual property, financial services, and agriculture.
Pence said that the United States does not seek to “de-couple” from China, but rather seeks a…