Pence accuses China of 'malign' campaign to undermine Trump

Ivan Schwartz
October 5, 2018

Pence's speech at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington marked a sharpened US approach toward China that goes beyond the bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies and includes disputes such as cyber activities, Taiwan, freedom of the seas and human rights. The comments echoed those by President Donald Trump recently.

In what was billed as a major policy address, Pence sought to build on Trump's speech at the United Nations last week in which he alleged that China was trying to interfere in the pivotal November 6 midterm elections.

He said Beijing 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.

"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.

Google's modified search engine - codenamed "Dragonfly" - would "strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers", Pence said.

Pence described the encounter in which a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards (41 meters) of the USS Decatur as "reckless harassment", and repeated a USA refrain: that the United States Navy "will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand".

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.

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.

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.

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His speech marked a sharpened USA approach toward China that goes beyond the bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies and includes disputes about cyber activities, Taiwan, freedom of the seas and human rights.

"Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand", Pence explained.

"We will not be intimidated", 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.

Pence called on one firm in particular to stop cooperating with China.

He was also to say that Chinese officials have tried to influence business leaders to condemn United States trade actions, "leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China".

China "has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression", Pence said.

"The more open tone of confrontation from Pence will strengthen the perception in China that the ultimate USA objective in the [trade] dispute is to contain China's rise", the group's analysts led by Asia director, Michael Hirson, wrote. "A new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists and Muslims".

Pence pointed to Trump's tough line on Beijing, particularly Trump's decision to impose $250 billion in tariffs on goods coming from the country.

Other reports by GizPress

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