Economy

VP Pence: China 'Meddling in America's Democracy'

VP Pence: China 'Meddling in America's Democracy'”

Pence accused China of using its economic power to bully smaller countries and said it had threatened the stability of the Taiwan Strait by pressuring three Latin American countries to sever ties with Taipei and recognise Beijing.

"China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections", Pence said in a speech at the conservative Hudson Institute.

Pence on Thursday said "there is a new consensus on China rising across America", where more business leaders are "thinking twice before diving into the Chinese market if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing's oppression".

"To put it bluntly, President Trump's leadership is working; China wants a different American President", Pence added. As proof, Trump later referenced a paid advertising insert in The Des Moines Register by Chinese government-affiliated entities.

"Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election", Trump said.

"China always follows the principle of non-interference in others' internal affairs and we have no interest in meddling in U.S. internal affairs and elections", she said.

"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade and we are winning on trade".

Mr Pence also joined other United States officials in denouncing Beijing's crackdown on minority Uighur Muslims in the Xinjiang region. President Trump has proposed increased tariffs on Chinese goods - costing China perhaps billions in lost trade - in an effort to "equalize" trade between the two nations and reduce what Trump calls an untenable trade deficit.

The intervention by the vice president marks a significant broadening in the rhetoric used by the Trump administration to confront China, linking issues around military, trade and domestic politics.

Sounding the alarm, Pence warns other nations to be wary of doing business with China, condemning the Asian country's "debt diplomacy" that allows it to draw developing nations into its orbit.

Vice President Mike Pence delivered a hard-hitting speech Thursday criticising China for a host of aggressive actions from economics to geopolitics.

Mr Pence also said China had deployed anti-ship and anti-air missiles on islands it is building in the disputed South China Sea, despite promises not to militarise them.

Washington has long identified China as a major culprit in the cyber hacking of US government and corporate databases but USA officials and independent analysts say they have not detected the kind of systematic manipulation of social media and hacking of emails that Russian Federation is alleged to have engaged in during the 2016 election, which Trump won.

Pence also said China's navy engaged in "reckless harassment" this week when a Chinese naval vessel came within about 40 meters of a USA ship in the South China Sea.

"The United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand", he said.

"We will not be intimidated".

But Pence said: "As a senior career member of our intelligence community told me just this week, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country".

The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.



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