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As Protests Flare Up, Donald Trump Says China Moving Troops to Hong Kong Border

It was not immediately clear if Trump was reporting fresh movements or movements near the border already reported in the media.

Reuters

Updated:August 13, 2019, 11:37 PM IST
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As Protests Flare Up, Donald Trump Says China Moving Troops to Hong Kong Border
File Photo of US President Donald Trump (Reuters)
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Washington: US President Donald Trump on Tuesday, citing US intelligence, said China's government was moving troops to its border with Hong Kong and he urged calm as clashes continued between protesters and authorities in the former British colony.

It was not immediately clear if Trump was reporting fresh movements or movements near the border already reported in the media. "Our Intelligence has informed us that the Chinese Government is moving troops to the Border with Hong Kong. Everyone should be calm and safe!" he tweeted.

Trump also said that the situation in Hong Kong was tricky, but he hoped it would work out for everybody, including China, and "for liberty" without anyone getting hurt or killed.

"The Hong Kong thing is a very tough situation - very tough," Trump said during a visit to Morristown, New Jersey. "We'll see what happens."

Demonstrators protesting a perceived erosion of civil liberties under Chinese rule clashed with police at Hong Kong's international airport late on Tuesday, plunging the former British colony deeper into turmoil after 10 weeks of increasingly violent clashes.

The protests present Chinese President Xi Jinping with one of his biggest challenges and Hong Kong legal experts say Beijing might be paving the way to use anti-terrorism laws to try to quell the demonstrations.

Trump, who has been seeking a major deal to correct trade imbalances with China, drew criticism this month after he described the Hong Kong protests as "riots," and said they were a matter for China and Hong Kong to deal with as the territory was part of China.

US Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell warned China on Monday that any violent crackdown on protests in Hong Kong would be "completely unacceptable," while Trump administration officials urged all sides to refrain from violence.

Earlier on Tuesday, Hong Kong airport authorities suspended all check-ins, but reversed a previous statement saying that all departing flights had been cancelled as pro-democracy protesters blocked the facility.

The decision came after thousands of pro-democracy protesters flooded into the airport for the second consecutive day and blocked passengers from reaching entrances to the departure area in both terminals. It came a day after authorities announced the unprecedented complete cancellation of all arriving and departing flights over a massive rally.

Pro-democracy protesters continued to block passengers at Hong Kong's airport on Tuesday, causing further travel chaos a day after triggering an unprecedented shutdown and defying the city's leader who warned against heading down a "path of no return".

The new rally came as Beijing sent further ominous signals that the 10 weeks of unrest must end, with state-run media showing videos of security forces gathering across the border.

The crisis, which has seen millions of people take to Hong Kong's streets, has become the biggest challenge to Chinese rule of the semi-autonomous city since its 1997 handover from Britain.

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