A misstep by China would cause an explosion on Capitol Hill, says John Bolton


VOA Contributor Greta Van Susteren interviews National Security Advisor John Bolton on Hong Kong protests yesterday.

Q: “Hong Kong. Protests going on in Hong Kong. What is the US’s position or what does the US intend to do or not do?”

Bolton: “Well you know the Chinese have accused the United States of being the cause of all these demonstrations. They’ve said we’re the Black Hand that’s gotten all this started and they’ve done things like published private information about diplomats, US diplomats, in Hong Kong. That’s the kind of thing that needs to stop. The Chinese have to look very carefully at the steps they take because people in America remember- Tiananmen Square, they remember the picture of the man standing in front of the line of tanks, they remember the statue of Lady Liberty, they remember voices of the Chinese people asking for freedom and democracy, and they remember the repression of the Chinese government in 1989, it would be a big mistake to create a new memory like that in Hong Kong.”

Q: “What’s the cost though to China? I mean, those horrible memories that you just recited, I remember them I remember watching them but China’s done fine, in spite of that.”

Bolton: “Well, that’s one reason-“

Q: “Well why not take another round at it?”

Bolton: “One reason is that we’re engaged in a very difficult economic contest with China now. One reason that they did well after that was by stealing American intellectual property, engaging in forced technology transfer, and not just from the United States but from Europe and Japan as well. Something like 60% of the investment in mainland China goes through Hong Kong. Why? Because it has a judicial system that’s trustworthy, based on the English model that we know in this country, the courts are thought to be impartial. If Hong Kong loses that reputation because of a bad decision by the Chinese government, they’ll have significant economic consequences in China this time, and I can tell you from what I’ve heard, just in the past few weeks, the mood in Congress is very volatile at this point, and a misstep by the Chinese government I think would cause an explosion on Capitol Hill.”

Q: “What do you think President Xi is thinking about what’s going on in Hong Kong. “

Bolton: “Well I think if he’s worried he’s worried about the steps that he might take in the future. He’s also worried about the spirit that everybody else in China can see about Hong Kong, they want their freedom. And I think what the United States expects, at a minimum, is that China will uphold the treaty agreement it made with the United Kingdom when Hong Kong was handed back to China. The commitment for one country, but two systems. That for 50 years, after the handover, Hong Kong would maintain its unique system and the freedoms that were left to it by the British. If that treaty is violated that’s a significant credibility problem for Beijing.”

Edited by staff


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