Senior U.S. diplomat: Hong Kong freedoms 'must be vigorously protected'

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Assistant Secretary of State for East Asian and Pacific Affairs David Stilwell speaks to reporters as he arrives at Narita international airport in Narita, east of Tokyo, Japan, July 11, 2019. REUTERS/Kim Kyung-Hoon/File Photo

WASHINGTON (Reuters) - The United States believes freedom of expression and peaceful assembly in Hong Kong must be protected and will continue to press China on the issue, a senior U.S. diplomat said in congressional testimony on Wednesday.

“In Hong Kong, we believe that the freedoms of expression and peaceful assembly - core values that we share with the people of Hong Kong - must be vigorously protected. We continue to urge Beijing to uphold its commitments,” David Stilwell, assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific Affairs told a Senate panel.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom; Writing by Doina Chiacu; Editing by Sandra Maler