US President Donald Trump has expressed his concern about the risk of a Chinese crackdown in Hong Kong over persistent violent protests in the semi-autonomous territory.
Trump who issued a statement on the matter on Thursday also suggested that President Xi Jinping of China should take the extraordinary step of sitting down with protesters as a way to help de-escalate the situation.
The US President says he is worried after China warned that Beijing would not “sit by and watch” as the unrest in Hong Kong continues.
“I am concerned,” he told reporters in New Jersey late on Thursday before travelling to a campaign rally.
Trump urged Xi to negotiate directly with pro-democracy protesters, saying: “I would be willing to bet that if he sat down with the protesters… I’ll bet he’d work it out in 15 minutes.”
The weeks-long Hong Kong protests were sparked by the opposition to a plan to allow extraditions to the mainland, but have since morphed into a wider – sometimes violent – call for democratic rights.