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MNI (Washington)
--The President stopped short of declaring economic war on Beijing
By Ryan Hauser
     WASHINGTON (MNI) - President Trump announced a slate of new measures,
Friday afternoon designed to punish Beijing for a slew of alleged offenses, but
the measures stopped short of reigniting a full-blown trade war between the
world's two largest economies.
     Speaking briefly in the Rose Garden, Trump said his announcement "will
affect the full range of agreements that we have with Hong Kong, from our
extradition treaty, to our export controls and technologies." He said the U.S.
"will take action to revoke Hong Kong's preferential treatment as a separate
customs and travel territory from the rest of China," though he offered little
detail on how or to what extent the status would be altered.
     He would also restrict the movement of "certain foreign nationals" from
China looking to enter the U.S. and that he is asking his administration to
further study the potential to delist some Chinese companies from U.S. stock
     Delisting Chinese companies that decline financial transparency
requirements has picked up bipartisan support in the House and Senate this past
week, though legislation has not yet made its way to the president's desk. If
anything, Trump's announcement Friday suggests he's taking a slower approach to
delisting than the pace urged by Congress.
     Early Friday morning the Chinese Embassy in the U.S. preempted Trump's
announcement, saying that the mainland's handling of Hong Kong was an internal
matter, and "as for foreign meddling in Hong Kong affairs, we will take
necessary countermeasures in response."
     Trump also announced that he would withdraw the U.S. from the World Health
Organization, which has become an acrimonious battleground as Washington accuses
the organization of running interference for Beijing's alleged cover-up of
Covid-19. Trump used the speech to suggest that Beijing willingly let the virus
spread to harm other countries.
     More announcements are expected in the week ahead, with Secretary of State
Mike Pompeo telling Fox News on Thursday that "in the coming days" the President
will "make a series of announcements" that "recognizes the threat...from this
tyrannical regime inside of China."
--MNI Washington Bureau; +1 202 371 2121; email:
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MNI Washington Bureau | +1 202-371-2121 |