WASHINGTON (AFP) - US President Donald Trump on Sunday (Aug 18) warned China that carrying out a Tiananmen Square-style crackdown on Hong Kong pro-democracy protesters would harm trade talks between the two countries.
"I think it'd be very hard to deal if they do violence, I mean, if it's another Tiananmen Square," Mr Trump told reporters in New Jersey.
"I think it's a very hard thing to do if there's violence."
Hong Kong has been roiled by protests for more than two months and on Sunday hundreds of thousands of democracy activists had marched peacefully in the city despite rising unrest and stark warnings from Beijing.
There have been increasingly stark warnings from Beijing over the protests, and state media has run images of military personnel and armoured personnel carriers across the border in Shenzhen.
China's 1989 crackdown in Beijing's Tiananmen Square saw tanks sent in to end student-led protests, resulting in hundreds if not thousands of deaths.
Mr Trump's comments came as Washington and Beijing look to revive pivotal talks aimed at ending their trade war, which has roiled world markets.
Phone calls between both countries' deputies are planned for the next 10 days, and if those are successful, negotiations could resume, Mr Trump's chief economic advisor Larry Kudlow said on Sunday.
The US president himself weighed in on Twitter, saying, "We are doing very well with China, and talking!"
In another tweet, he added that the US economy was "poised for big growth after trade deals are completed," and that China is "eating Tariffs.
World financial markets have been on edge amid signs pointing to a possible global economic slowdown - notably because of the trade war between the world's two largest economies - and have been reacting nervously to even the slightest new indicator.
But Mr Kudlow insisted that the outlook was far from gloomy. "Let's not be afraid of optimism," he said, adding that "I sure don't see a recession."