US President Donald Trump has claimed he is the reason China has not taken steps to crush pro-democracy protests in Hong Kong.

He said he asked his “friend” Chinese President Xi Jinping not to send in the military.

Speaking on Fox & Friends in a telephone interview on Friday, Mr Trump said he told Mr Xi that efforts to quash the protests would complicate negotiations for a US-China trade deal.

China has warned it will retaliate against the US if Mr Trump signs a Bill supporting the Hong Kong protests.

Mr Trump did not say whether he would veto the Bill, but added: “We have to stand with Hong Kong, but I’m also standing with President Xi.”

He also said that if it had not been for him, “thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now and you wouldn’t have any riots”.