UPDATE 1-U.S. Asia official welcomes news of Hong Kong dialogue

UPDATE 1-U.S. Asia official welcomes news of Hong Kong dialogue

(Adds further comment.)

WASHINGTON, Sept 18 (Reuters) – David Stilwell, the U.S. State Department’s top official for East Asia, said on Wednesday he welcomed news that Hong Kong’s leader would hold open dialogue with the city’s residents.

“It does give them both a voice that they asked for and the option to execute their choice of government,” Stilwell told a U.S. Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.

“I do think a dialogue, especially an open dialogue will have the desired effect,” he said.

Stilwell later said Washington believed that Hong Kong still retained its autonomy under terms of the U.S. Hong Kong Policy Act.

“Withdrawing the extradition law is a very positive step,” Stilwell told the committee.

Hong Kong’s leader, Carrie Lam, said on Tuesday she and her team would begin dialogue sessions with the community next week, while reiterating that the violence that has roiled the city over three months of protests must end.

(Reporting by Patricia Zengerle and David Brunnstrom; Editing by Angus MacSwan)


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