U.S. says China wants to kick Trump out of the White House

Daniel Fowler
October 5, 2018

"To put it bluntly, President Trump's leadership is working; China wants a different American president", Pence said at the Hudson Institute, a conservative Washington think tank.

But reaction to the vice president's remarks by critics on Thursday, however, warned that Pence and the Trump administration are playing a unsafe game.

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.

Pence said Beijing, with an eye not only to the congressional elections but also to Trump's re-election bid in 2020, had "mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans' perception of Chinese policies" and was targeting its tariffs to hurt states where Trump has strong support.

Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded to Trump's comments at the meeting, saying that China follows a principle of non-interference in other countries domestic affairs.

Neither Mr Trump nor Mr Pence provided hard evidence of Chinese meddling.

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

But his statements on the November US elections were at the forefront of his speech.

A Chinese Luyang-class destroyer sailed within 41 metres of the USS Decatur in the South China Sea on Sunday

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.

'We will continue to take action until Beijing ends the theft of American intellectual property and stops the predatory practice of forced technology transfer, ' Pence said. China commonly places such ads in newspapers around the country.

No administration official has offered evidence that China is seeking or has sought to weaponize hacked, politically sensitive information, as Russian Federation did during the 2016 presidential election.

It goes beyond the bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies and includes disputes such as cyber activities, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

'The United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand, ' Pence said. 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. "We will not stand down".

Senior Chinese officials have also tried to influence business leaders to condemn USA trade actions, leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China.

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.

"China's aggression was on display this week", he said, referring to a unsafe encounter between the People's Liberation Army Navy destroyer Lanzhou and the United States destroyer USS Decatur in the hotly-contested South China Sea Sunday.

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