Secretary Pompeo considers welcoming Hongkongers into the US


US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo said the United States government is considering the option of welcoming people from Hong Kong in response to China’s push to impose national security legislation on the city-state.

Mr. Pompeo said, “We are considering it. I don’t know precisely how it will play out. The British have, as you know, a different relationship,” when asked if Washington was considering following suit to “welcome Hong Kong people to come here and bring their entrepreneurial creativity”.

“A lot of these folks have British national passports. There’s a long history between Hong Kong and the United Kingdom; it’s very different. But we’re taking a look at it,” he said, speaking to the American Enterprise Institute on Friday, without giving details about immigration quotas or visas when asked about Hong Kong.

His remarks were later shared by the State Department on Monday.

Also on Friday, US President Donald Trump ordered his administration to begin the process of eliminating special US treatment for Hong Kong to punish China, but stopped short of immediately ending privileges that have helped the territory remain a global financial centre.

Last week, Britain has said it was prepared to offer extended visa rights and a pathway to citizenship for almost 3 million Hong Kong residents.

Last year, Trump signed legislation stating that Hong Kong residents may not be denied visas because they have been subjected to politically motivated arrest, detention, or other“adverse” government action.

On Friday, Trump also issued a proclamation suspending entry of Chinese nations identified as potential security risks, something sources said could affect thousands of Chinese graduate students.

In a statement on Monday, Pompeo said the move would apply only to graduate students and researchers “targeted, co-opted and exploited” by the Chinese government, representing “only a small subset” of such applicants. (Source: The Straits Times)