President Donald Trump said he’s personally saved Hong Kong from being “obliterated,” sparing thousands of lives, though he declined to say whether he’ll support a U.S. bill backing the protesters.

Trump, in a phone interview with the “Fox & Friends” program Friday morning, said the Hong Kong protests are “a complicating factor” in trade talks between the U.S. and China, and argued that the U.S. position has effectively blocked Chinese President Xi Jinping from a violent crackdown.

“If it weren’t for me, Hong Kong would have been obliterated in 14 minutes,” Trump said. “He’s got a million soldiers standing outside of Hong Kong that aren’t going in only because I asked him, ‘Please don’t do that, you’ll be making a big mistake, it’s going to have a tremendous negative impact on the trade deal.’ And he wants to make a trade deal.”

When asked, he declined to say whether he’ll sign into law a bill in support of the protesters that passed unanimously in the Senate and with support from all but one Republican in the House. Trump said he stands both with the protesters and Xi.

“We have to stand with Hong Kong but I’m also standing with President Xi, he’s a friend of mine, he’s an incredible guy,” Trump said. “I stand with Hong Kong, I stand with freedom, I stand with all of the things we want to do. But we’re also in the process of making the largest trade deal in history. And if we could do that, that would be great. China wants it, we want it,” Trump said Friday.

‘Phase One’

Trump’s comments came as markets watch for any sign that the U.S. and China can close a “phase one” deal, and whether it will include a full or partial rollback of tariffs that Trump has applied to imports of Chinese goods. Trump said Friday there is “a very good chance” of reaching a deal, but repeated his threat that it can’t be equal for both sides, because he’s looking to eliminate what he views as unfair advantages for China.

China’s Xi said earlier Friday that his nation wants to work toward a phase one agreement on the “basis of mutual respect and equality,” his first comments on the partial deal he could potentially sign with Trump.

“I didn’t like his word ‘equality’ because we started off so low,” Trump said later, on Fox.

The Trump administration has import taxes in place on some $360 billion in goods from China and has threatened to impose new levies Dec. 15.

“If it weren’t for me, thousands of people would have been killed in Hong Kong right now, and you wouldn’t have any riots, you’d have a police state. But thousands of people,” Trump said Friday. “The only reason he’s not going in is because I’m saying it’s going to affect our trade deal.”