Trump moves to rescind Hong Kong’s special status, terminates U.S. relationship with the WHO

Foreign Affairs

President Trump’s press conference on Friday focused entirely on China. The U.S. President used sweeping rhetoric to announce measures punishing Beijing, but his announcements were not specific, and few would take place immediately.

U.S. President Donald Trump turns away and departs as reporters ask questions after the president made an announcement about U.S. trade relations with China and Hong Kong in the Rose Garden of the White House in Washington, U.S., May 29, 2020.
/ Credit: REUTERS/Jonathan Ernst

President Trump’s press conference on Friday focused entirely on China. The U.S. President used sweeping rhetoric to announce measures punishing Beijing, but his announcements were not specific, and few would take place immediately:

Begins a process to revoke Hong Kong’s preferential trade status and end some special preferences for Hong Kong:

Trump said today’s announcement will “affect the full range of agreements we have with Hong Kong,” and that he would impose new sanctions and visa restrictions on Chinese officials who played a role in “smothering” the city.

“China claims it is protecting national security, but the truth is Hong Kong was secure and prosperous as a free society. Beijing’s decision reverses all of that. It extends the reach of China’s invasive state security apparatus into what was formerly a bastion of liberty.”

“The people of Hong Kong hoped that in the years and decades to come, China would increasingly come to resemble its most radiant and dynamic city. The rest of the world was electrified by the possibility that Hong Kong was a glimpse into China’s future, not that Hong Kong would grow into a reflection of China’s past.”

Says he is issuing a proclamation to “secure our universities’ vital research” and suspend the entry of foreign nationals from China identified as potential security risks: “The pandemic has underscored the crucial importance of building up America’s economic independence, reshoring our critical supply chains, and protecting America’s scientific and technological advances. For years the government of China has conducted illicit espionage to steal our industrial secrets.”

The President later issued a proclamation to bar some Chinese nationals from entering the U.S. for graduate study.

Says he is instructing his presidential working group on financial markets to study the “differing practices of Chinese companies listed on U.S. financial markets with the goal of protecting American investors.”

Terminates U.S. relationship with the WHO: “The world needs answers from China on the virus. We must have transparency. Why is it that China shut off infected people from Wuhan to all other parts of China… but they allowed them to travel throughout the world including Europe and the United States?” The U.S. is the largest funder of the WHO.