United States Evaluates Limited Options To Negotiate With China On Hong Kong: WSJ

FILE PHOTO: Chinese and American flags wave near The Bund, before the US trade delegation meets with its Chinese counterparts to speak in Shanghai, China, on July 30, 2019. REUTERS / Aly Song

(Reuters) – The United States is weighing tight options for dealing with China about its recent moves in Hong Kong, the Wall Street Journal reported Sunday as tensions between Washington and Beijing mount.

Steps against Hong Kong’s financial system risk damaging businesses and consumers in the US, the West and Hong Kong, according to the report here, citing US officials and analysts.

Measures such as more specific sanctions against Chinese officials and trade movements against products made in Hong Kong would have little impact on the integration of the city of Beijing into the continent’s political and security system, the Journal added.

On Thursday, Trump administration officials discussed Hong Kong’s plans at a White House meeting, people familiar with the meeting told the Journal. Officials will regroup earlier this week and may announce sanctions or other measures, one person added.

Last week, Washington imposed sanctions on the autonomous region of Xinjiang Communist Party Secretary Chen Quanguo, a member of China’s powerful Political Bureau, and three other officials.

Beijing described the sanctions as “deeply damaging” to mutual relations between the countries and warned that China would impose reciprocal measures on US officials and organizations.

As bilateral tensions on issues ranging from coronaviruses, trade, Hong Kong’s new security law and allegations of human rights violations against Uighurs in the Xinjiang region mount, the United States government alerted US citizens on Saturday to “exercise greater caution” in China.

Earlier, a Bloomberg report said Trump’s top advisers weighed in on proposals to undermine the Hong Kong currency’s peg to the U.S. dollar, although the idea did not appear to have gained ground.

Chinese state lenders were renewing contingency plans on the threat of US sanctions, according to a Reuters report last week.

Report by Maria Ponnezhath in Bangalore; Editing by Peter Cooney

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