BEIJING – China said on Friday that fresh accusations of political interference in the United States were unjustified and ridiculous, and urged the administration of US President Donald Trump to put an end to rumors and stop slandering the Chinese government.
The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responding to the rhetoric used by US Vice-President Mike Pence in his speech Thursday in which he criticized China’s political, economic and military actions, and his allegations that it was interfering with next month’s legislative elections in the US to undermine support for Trump.
“The relevant speech made unwarranted accusations against China’s domestic and foreign policies and slandered China by claiming that China meddles in US internal affairs and elections,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson, Hua Chunying, Friday, the official Xinhua news agency reported.
Hua said that “It is very ridiculous for the US side to stigmatize its normal exchanges and cooperation with China as China interfering in its internal affairs and elections.”
She also recalled that Beijing always followed the principle of non-interference in the domestic affairs of other countries, and had no interest in meddling in Washington’s domestic and electoral affairs.
“We urge the US to correct its wrongdoing, stop groundlessly accusing and slandering China and harming China’s interests and China-US ties, and take concrete actions to maintain the sound and steady development of China-US relations,” she added.
Pence’s accusations against the government of President Xi Jinping raised tensions between the two powers, engaged since July in a trade war, ahead of US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo’s visit to Beijing Monday.
Last week, Trump accused China of using propaganda to attack the US agricultural belt, composed of Midwest states such as Iowa and Illinois, which have been affected by tariffs imposed by Beijing on soybeans as part of the trade war.
The White House has not yet provided any evidence of the alleged Chinese interference, beyond highlighting that the Chinese Communist Party newspaper, China Daily, ran a four-page ad last month in an Iowa newspaper reporting that Trump’s trade war was harming farmers in that state.
“Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policies,” Pence said Thursday.
He described Beijing’s campaign as “an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential election,” in which Trump will be seeking re-election for a second term.