United Nations: US President Donald Trump put China on notice at the United Nations on Tuesday over its handling of the Hong Kong crisis, urging Beijing to protect the former British territory's "democratic" way of life.
Trump told the UN General Assembly his administration was "carefully monitoring" pro-democracy protests that have sparked the gravest political crisis in the Asian financial hub since its handover from Britain to China in 1997.
"The world fully expects that the Chinese government will honor its binding treaty... (and) protect Hong Kong's freedom and legal system and democratic ways of life," he added.
"How China chooses to handle the situation will say a great deal about its role in the world and the future," the Republican tycoon added during his third appearance at the diplomatic forum in New York. It marked one of his most strident speeches on the crisis since massive anti-government protests broke out in Hong Kong three months ago.
Until Tuesday, Trump had largely left it to the State Department to demand respect for the handover treaty which grants the territory a "high degree of autonomy," its own judicial, legislative and executive system, and the protection of its "way of life".
Trump also fired a shot across China's bow on international trade, declaring that the time of Beijing's "abuses" of the system was "over".
"For years, these (trade) abuses were tolerated, ignored, or even encouraged," he said, arguing that "globalism" had caused world leaders to ignore their own national interests.
Touting what he argued were the benefits of his tariff war with China, Trump reiterated his hope that a trade agreement "beneficial to both countries" could be struck. "But as I said very clearly, I will not accept a bad deal for the American people," he said.
Trump also slammed the World Trade Organization (WTO) for allowing China to get preferential treatment despite the size of its economy, saying the institution is in need of major reform and that the US will demand those changes.
"US lost 60,000 factories after China entered the WTO. This is happening to other countries all over the globe. WTO needs drastic change. The second-largest economy in the world shouldn't be allowed to declare itself a developing country in order to game the system at others' expense," he said.
Trump told world leaders at the annual UN General Assembly on Tuesday that he will no longer allow other countries to take advantage of America and the international trade system and said the time for tolerating China's trade abuses is over.
Trump has long complained that China is classified as a developing nation by the WTO even though it is the world's second-largest economy.
Trump also made a fresh attack against the global order, saying that "globalists" would not triumph. He told other world leaders at the United Nations General Assembly that wise leaders put the future of their own people and country first.
"The future does not belong to globalists. The future belongs to patriots," Trump said. Trump is attending three days of meetings and speeches at the United Nations. He is touting the low unemployment rate in the United States and says that in everything the United States does "we are focused on empowering the dreams and aspirations of our citizens."
Trump used his speech to prioritise individual nations' self-determination over alliances and globalisation. "The future belongs to sovereign and independent nations who protect their citizens, respect their neighbors and honor the differences that make each country special and unique," he said.
Globalism exerted a religious pull over past leaders causing them to ignore their own national interests. Those days are over." Focusing on the United States' self-interest, Trump said that the nation's security was jeopardized by the threat posed by Iran and warned Tehran to stop its aggression toward Washington's allies in the Middle East.
Trump also stepped up his attack against Iran, saying sanctions will be 'tightened' unless Iran's behaviour changes. Trump said all nations have a duty to act against Iran and "no responsible government should subsidize Iran's bloodlust".
These comments came against the backdrop of flaring tensions between Iran and Saudi Arabia. The Saudis say Iran was responsible for an attack earlier this month on two oil facilities in the kingdom, which Iran denies.
Trump noted the US has imposed the highest level of sanctions on Iran and says as long as Iran's "menacing behavior continues" sanctions will not be lifted and instead will be tightened.
Trump also said his administration will conclude new trade deals with Britain, Japan and others that are fair and reciprocal. The Republican president says a deal with Japan is close to being finalised and once Britain leaves the European Union the US will negotiate an "exceptional deal" with it.
(With inputs from agencies)