Beijing blasts Pence’s speech on ‘Chinese meddling’

Beijing blasts Pence’s speech on ‘Chinese meddling’

Pence made a wide range of allegations on Thursday, accusing China of making an "unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion" in both the upcoming 2018 congressional, and 2020 presidential elections, citing tariffs targeting states that voted for Donald Trump, and an advertisement criticising the US President's trade war run by state-media in a US newspaper.

In what was billed as a major policy address, Pence sought to build on President Donald Trump's speech at the United Nations last week in which he alleged that China was attempting to meddle in the pivotal November 6 elections to punish him for of his trade stance.

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

"The Chinese Communist Party is turning plowshares into swords on a massive scale", Pence said in a speech at the Hudson Institute in Washington, D.C.

He criticized China for its militarization of the South China Sea, its trade practices and intellectual property theft, its crackdown on political opposition and religious groups at home and its political interference in the USA and around the world.

While the vice president stressed the threats posed by China to American interests, he emphasised that the United States desires a productive relationship with Beijing.

"The U.S. side has sent warships into waters near China's islands and reefs in South China Sea time and again, which has posed a grave threat to China's sovereignty and security, severely damaged the relations between the two militaries, and significantly undermined regional peace and stability", the Ministry of Defence said in response to the latest clash.

"It is very ridiculous for the U.S. side to stigmatise its normal exchanges and cooperation with China as China interfering in its internal affairs and elections", Hua said. The two countries have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other.

The vice president said that Chinese security agencies have masterminded "the wholesale theft of American technology" and that Beijing works to steal U.S. intellectual property, leading to a "new consensus" among United States businesses about investing there.

Google declined comment, except to reiterate that its China search engine project was "exploratory" and not close to launch.

Pence also protests Beijing's construction of military fortresses in the South China Sea as well as Chinese efforts to intercept American ships carrying out naval exercises created to contest China's territorial expansion.

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.

"Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President", Pence said. "We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down", he says.

China's Defense Ministry said a Chinese naval ship had been sent to warn the US vessel to leave and that Beijing had irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them.