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Mike Pompeo says ‘something like Tiananmen Square’ in Hong Kong would make a US-China trade deal ‘more difficult’

A trade deal between the U.S. and China would be less likely if President Xi Jinping’s government cracks down violently on the large-scale protests in Hong Kong, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo told CNBC on Tuesday.

It would be “more difficult” to reach a trade deal if the protests end “in a way that there was violence — the president said something like Tiananmen Square,” Pompeo said in an interview on “Squawk Box. ”

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He was referring to the 1989 student-led demonstrations in Beijing’s Tiananmen Square, which ended in mass bloodshed after government-deployed soldiers and tanks and fired on those protesters.

I hope that the trade negotiations move forward, and I hope that Hong Kong is resolved in a peaceful way. Those would be the best outcomes for both China and the United States,

Pompeo said.

Hong Kong has for weeks been roiled by massive protests that have resulted in tense clashes with police.

The protests stemmed from opposition to an extradition bill that critics say would have given Beijing undue control over Hong Kong. But after the bill was suspended, the scope of the protest movement expanded to encompass issues of civil rights and democracy. When Britain handed over Hong Kong to China in 1997, Beijing promised that Hong Kong’s economic and political systems would not be changed for 50 years.

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