Pompeo says he is not optimistic China will rethink its position on Hong Kong

WASHINGTON — U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Monday said he is not optimistic that China will rethink its position on Hong Kong, particularly after the arrest of media tycoon Jimmy Lai under Hong Kong’s new national security law.

Pompeo told the Conservative Political Action Conference that the United States would take action to ensure that Washington treated Hong Kong as an extension of China.

“I’m not optimistic given what we saw this morning and what we’ve seen over the past week that they’re going to change what they’re doing,” Pompeo said.

“But what we can be sure, and President Trump has said, is that to the extent the Chinese Communist Party treats Hong Kong as just another communist-run city, the United States will do the same. We’re not going to allow Beijing to benefit from the harm they’re imposing on the people of Hong Kong,” he added.

Lai’s arrest comes amid Beijing’s crackdown against pro-democracy opposition in the city and further stokes concerns about media and other promised freedoms when it returned to China in 1997. China imposed the sweeping new security law on Hong Kong on June 30, drawing condemnation from Western countries. (Reporting by Humeyra Pamuk and Daphne Psaledakis Editing by Chris Reese and Jonathan Oatis)

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