Trump links Hong Kong protests to trade talks with China

President Donald Trump on Wednesday linked the ongoing trade talks with China to the humane resolution of protests shaking the semi-autonomous territory of Hong Kong.

“Of course China wants to make a deal. Let them work humanely with Hong Kong first!” he said on Twitter.

In his remarks, the president appeared to suggest a personal meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping to help resolve the crisis.

Trump also reiterated claims that “thousands” of companies were leaving China.

Trump also said China needed a trade deal more than the U.S., although China has argued otherwise. The comment followed his announcement that he was extending his Sept. 1 deadline for 10 percent tariffs on billions of dollars worth of Chinese imports such as cell phones, laptops and consumer goods until Dec. 15.

China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs didn’t rule out a meeting in a statement to NBC News, saying the two heads of state have “maintained contact all along.”

“We hope that the U.S. side will meet half-way with the Chinese side, implement the consensus reached by the two heads of state in Osaka, and on the basis of equality and mutual respect and through dialogue and consultation,” said Hua Chunying, a spokeswoman to the ministry, referring to a Trump-Xi meeting on the sidelines of the G-20 economic summit in Japan in late June.

China’s economy — the world’s second largest — does appear to be cooling, with urban unemployment jumping to 5.3 percent in the first half of the year, compared with 5.1 percent in the same period last year.

Industrial output, meanwhile, was at a 17-year low in July while the yuan has slipped versus the dollar.

Reuters contributed.

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