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The Latest: Trump doesn’t want HK protests to be violent

Politics

President Donald Trump speaks with reporters before boarding Air Force One at Morristown Municipal Airport in Morristown, N.J., Thursday, Aug. 15, 2019, en route to a campaign rally in Manchester, N.H. (AP Photo/Patrick Semansky)

WASHINGTON (AP) — The Latest on President Donald Trump’s comments on the Hong Kong protests (all times local):

5:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump says he doesn’t want to see monthslong protests in Hong Kong met with violence by China.

Trump said Thursday before boarding Air Force One for New Hampshire that he “I wouldn’t want to see a violent crackdown.”

He says he believes Chinese President Xi Jinping (shee jihn-peeng) should take the extraordinary step of sitting down with protesters in Hong Kong as a way to help deescalate the situation.

Trump says of Xi: “He can work it out in a very humane fashion.”

Trump tweeted earlier this week that U.S. intelligence believes Chinese forces are massing on the border with Hong Kong.

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3:30 p.m.

President Donald Trump is prioritizing China trade negotiations over defending the Hong Kong protesters.

This contrasts with the stance sometimes taken by his White House predecessors, who might well use such a flashpoint as a moment to espouse an American commitment to democratic values.

Trump’s approach also stands in contrast to the strong words by some leading members of Congress who blame China for the unrest in Hong Kong. His State Department has urged restraint by China and lamented “the continued erosion” of Hong Kong’s autonomy.

Amid stock market volatility this week and talk of a possible recession, worries have grown within the White House that escalating China trade tensions and tariffs could undermine Trump’s best argument for reelection — a strong economy.

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