HONG KONG - U.S. President Donald Trump was "resolute" in not wanting anything to do with Hong Kong, former U.S. National Security Advisor John Bolton said Wednesday, a day after Trump signed an order to fully end the special treatment extended to the territory.
Trump "understood the protests (in Hong Kong) to be significant in size" but did not want to get involved, Bolton said in an online press briefing organized by the Foreign Correspondents' Club of Hong Kong.
Regarding the new national security law, Bolton said, while it must be "discouraging," the people of Hong Kong should know that support for the territory's freedom is "broad and deep" in the United States and other democratic countries.
"There's a lot more the U.S. can do," Bolton said, adding that, as an example, "I would have the U.S. extend full diplomatic recognition to Taiwan and see what Beijing thinks."
On Tuesday, Trump signed the order to fully end the special treatment extended under U.S. law to Hong Kong, saying that he will hold China accountable for its "oppressive actions" against the people of the former British colony.
The move was a part of a series of U.S. actions to pressure China over its recent implementation of a national security law, which has enabled Beijing to crack down on what it views as subversive activity in the territory.
Under China's "one country, two systems" policy, Hong was promised it would enjoy the rights and freedoms of a semiautonomous region for 50 years following its return to Chinese rule in 1997.