Sen. Marco Rubio hears Trump will sign Hong Kong rights legislation passed by House and Senate


Sen. Marco Rubio told CNBC on Thursday he believes President Donald Trump will sign the Hong Kong rights legislation approved on Capitol Hill.
"My understanding is that they will sign it," the Florida Republican said on "Squawk Box."
The House on Wednesday passed a bill supporting Hong Kong rights, which aims to protect citizens amid efforts to crack down on months of anti-government protests. Additionally, the House passed a second bill to bar the export of certain munitions to Hong Kong police by the same margin. The bills, which have been approved by the Senate, head to the White House for Trump to sign.
Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang later said Beijing "condemns and firmly opposes" the first bill, known as the Hong Kong Human Rights and Democracy Act.
The legislation comes in a time of economic and trade tensions between the U.S. and China, which he believes are going to take a decade or more to resolve.
"I think it's going to take more than one presidency," said Rubio, who unsuccessfully sought the 2016 GOP presidential nomination. He called ongoing negotiations between the world's two largest economies a 10 to 15 year "balancing act."
Beijing and Washington have remained locked in an escalating trade war for well over a year, with each side placing tariffs on billions of dollars' of each others' goods. Trump announced last month that Beijing agreed to an initial trade deal that would address intellectual property and financial services concerns, as well as Chinese purchases of about $40 billion to $50 billion in U.S. agricultural products.
According to the Wall Street Journal, Chinese Vice Premier Liu He has invited U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin for a face-to-face trade meeting in Beijing, adding that China hopes a round of talks can take place before the Thanksgiving holiday.
Even if a "phase one" deal, which some call a "skinny deal," is reached, it won't touch on all of the issues between the two nations, Rubio said.
"We still have to stop thinking about our conflict with China as one issue," the Senator said on "Squawk Box." "It's not the same as USMCA [United States-Mexico-Canada Agreement], it's a much broader geopolitical balance."
Rubio's been tough on China's alleged interference in the United States. In September, he called on the government to ensure that federal worker retirement dollars are not being invested in China.
"There really is no such thing as private companies in China," the senator said at the time. "They're all, to some extent, instruments of state power."

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