- The Washington Times - Wednesday, August 14, 2019

The Trump administration is watching the unrest in Hong Kong closely, but the pro-democracy protests that have rocked the city are an “internal matter” for China, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross said Wednesday.

Interviewed on CNBC, Mr. Ross rejected the suggestion the U.S. was ignoring the crisis as it focuses on a raging trade war with China.

“It’s not that we’re not watching” the events in  Hong Kong, Mr. Ross said. “The question is, what role is there for the U.S. in this matter?”

“This is an internal matter for China,” he added.

The White House is facing increasing pressure from both Republicans and Democrats on Capitol Hill to take a tougher stand against China, amid reports Beijing is building up paramilitary forces and military assets on the border outside the semi-autonomous city.

Mr. Ross also said President Trump’s decision to delay a new round of tariffs on a range of Chinese exports  from September 1 to mid-December was not done as a concession to the Chinese, but was designed to help American consumers.

“Nobody wants to take any chance of disrupting the Christmas season,” Mr. Ross said, adding that “this was not a quid pro quo” trade negotiations with Beijing.

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