Pence attacks China on 'predatory' trade, 'coercion' and military 'aggression'

Ivan Schwartz
October 5, 2018

One of the most pressing concerns is Beijing's control over the supply of critical technologies and materials, which could pose a significant risk to United States industries that are vital to national security, the report said.

They also said it was the first time a senior US official had delivered such a "broadside" against China on an array of issues.

"This is nothing but speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air".

Pence also accused China of "reckless harassment" because of an incident on Sunday in which a USA destroyer, the Decatur, traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea.

Citing Trump's move to levy tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and threatening to "levy even more, with the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number", Pence said that "the American people deserve to know that, in response to the strong stand that President Trump has taken, Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President".

Mr Pence called the confrontation "reckless harassment". "It's using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing's political influence".

Relations between the world's two largest economies have plummeted in recent weeks with Mr Trump placing US$250 billion (S$345 billion) in tariffs on Chinese goods, in part over charges that Beijing forces USA companies to hand over technological know-how.

USA intelligence agencies assess that Russian Federation interfered in the 2016 presidential election to boost Trump over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton through hacking and releasing sensitive documents and social media manipulation.

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Analysts with the Eurasia Group consultancy noted that the charges of Chinese meddling are largely unsubstantiated and could allow Trump to distract from the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference. He said this was now not sufficient from the USA side.

"From its continued hacking of our defense secrets to its focus on collecting vast repositories of personal and personality-identifying information to better enable espionage activities, China exploits our transparency and open society", Coats said. "There's nothing in that speech that rises to the level of 2016 Russian active measures".

He also urged Google to end development of its "Dragonfly" app that would make it easier to track internet searches and thus strengthen the Chinese Communist Party's censorship efforts.

Such paid supplements by foreign governments are commonplace in U.S. newspapers, but Pence complained that the United States was not allowed to print similar advertisements in China's state-controlled press.

In one recent example, Pence said, they threatened to deny a business licence for a major U.S. corporation if it refused to speak out against the Trump administration's policies.

The democratic, self-governing island is home to nationalists who fled in 1949 after losing China's civil war and has waged an increasingly lonely campaign for diplomatic recognition as the Republic of China.

Can the United States and China resolve their differences?

National security adviser John Bolton said much of what the USA knows about Chinese activities in the United States remains classified.

Other reports by GizPress

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