Published: Fri, October 05, 2018
Money | By Ralph Mccoy

Mike Pence says 'no doubt' China is meddling in United States elections

Mike Pence says 'no doubt' China is meddling in United States elections

Trump has justified his trade policy by accusing China of stealing intellectual property and limiting access to its market.

The speech comes as the US and China engage in an escalating trade dispute, after Washington imposed tariffs on Chinese imports and Beijing retaliated with its own taxes on American goods.

"The worldwide community has already seen very clearly in the end who is invading the sovereignty of other countries, interfering in their internal affairs, and damaging their interests".

U.S. vice-president Mike Pence has called on Google to end its censored Chinese Search engine the "Dragonfly" project.

Despite recently exchanged tit-for-tat tariffs targeting $260 billion worth of bilaterally traded goods and Washington's newly introduced sanctions on the Chinese military for buying Russian fighter jets and missiles, China said it remains committed to working with Washington as long as it's done with "mutual respect".

Pence also denounced China's manoeuvres in the South China Sea, its oppression of Christians, Muslims and other religious believers, and Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature infrastructure and foreign policy initiative.

FILE PHOTO: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence delivers a speech at the Republican National Lawyers Association (RNLA) in Washington, U.S., August 24, 2018.

"To that end, Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans' perception of Chinese policies", Pence said.

A Chinese Luyang-class destroyer sailed within 41 metres of the USS Decatur in the South China Sea on Sunday
Mike Pence says 'no doubt' China is meddling in United States elections

He'll also make an explicit comparison to Russian interference, saying: "What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what [China] is doing across this country". "It's using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing's political influence".

Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Wu Qian defended the naval maneuver on Tuesday, accusing the USA of threatening China's sovereignty and safety by repeatedly sending warships to disputed areas of the South China Sea.

"We will not be intimidated", Mr Pence said of the operation, the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

"Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows and our national interests demand", Pence explained. China's ambassador to the United States Cui Tiankai - in an interview with National Public Radio aired shortly before Pence's address - said there was a "much larger need for cooperation" than competition with Washington.

They also said it was the first time a senior USA official had delivered such a "broadside" against China on an array of issues.

Chris Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and China expert now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, said Pence's speech appeared aimed at building a narrative that a vote for the Democrats would be vote for China.

Mr Pence called the confrontation "reckless harassment".

Mr Trump has justified his tough trade policy against Beijing with accusations that China steals United States intellectual property and limits access to its own market.

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