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Asian markets see mixed signals as US backs Hong Kong protesters

By Yana Berman

President Donald Trump signs two pro-democracy bills that could affect the trade deal with China

US president Donald Trump has signed two bills supporting protesters in Hong Kong, a statement published by the White House reveals. China claims the initiative is nothing but meddling into its inner affairs.

The statement signed by Trump reads: “I signed these bills out of respect for President Xi, China, and the people of Hong Kong. They are being enacted in the hope that Leaders and Representatives of China and Hong Kong will be able to amicably settle their differences leading to long term peace and prosperity for all.”

The president signed the bills as negotiations over the “phase one” of the trade deal that are currently underway. The deal could put an end to the long-lasting trade war that has affected Asian and other economies across the world.

Trump’s decision to back the protesters in Hong Kong could significantly affect the course of negotiations. Beijing has repeatedly condemned the two bills and considered them to be meddling into the inner affairs of the Chinese autonomy.

Just hours after the announcement came, the Ministry of foreign affairs of China issued a statement that blamed the US of “sinister intentions and hegemonic nature”. According to the officials, the bills violate the international law.

Following the announcement, Asian markets saw mixed signals on Thursday, November 28. Mainland Shanghai Composite went down 0.27 per cent, while Hong Kong’s Hang Seng lost 0.18 per cent at press time.

The Japanese Nikkei 225 was also down 0.12 per cent, and Korean KOSPI saw a decline of 0.43 per cent.

FURTHER READING: Donald Trump says trade deal with China is ‘potentially very close’

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