U.S. President Donald Trump speaks at a fundraiser in Des Moines, Iowa, June 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kevin Lamarque
WASHINGTON (Reuters) – U.S. President Donald Trump said on Wednesday he is sure China and Hong Kong will be able to work things out after mass protests against an extradition bill that would allow people to be sent to mainland China for trial descended into chaos.
Trump spoke to reporters at the White House after Hong Kong police fired rubber bullets and tear gas at demonstrators who threw plastic bottles.
Trump said the demonstrations were massive. “That was a million people. That was as big a demonstration as I’ve ever seen,” he said.
Opposition to the bill on Sunday triggered Hong Kong’s biggest political demonstration since its handover from British to Chinese rule in 1997 under a “one country, two systems” deal guaranteeing it special autonomy, including freedom of assembly, free press and independent judiciary.
“So, I hope it all works out for China and for Hong Kong,” Trump added. “I understand the reason for the demonstration but I’m sure they will be able to work it out. I hope they’re going to be able to work it out with China.”
Tens of thousands of protesters had gathered peacefully outside the Chinese-ruled city’s legislature before tempers flared, some charging police with umbrellas.
Reporting by Steve Holland and Doina Chiacu in Washington; Editing by James Dalgleish