Pence speech to slam China over threats, Taiwan

Pence speech to slam China over threats, Taiwan

Pence speech to slam China over threats, Taiwan

Vice President Mike Pence is accusing China of trying to undermine President Donald Trump as the administration deploys tough new rhetoric over Chinese trade, economic and foreign policies.

"China wants a different American president", Pence says.

He also slammed Beijing for placing a multi-page advertisement extolling the virtues of US-China trade in the Des Moines Register, the highest-circulation newspaper in Iowa, a swing state whose longtime governor Terry Branstad is Trump's ambassador to Beijing.

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.

The vice president cited USA intelligence agencies but offered no evidence to back up his claims, which are likely to inflame relations between Washington and Beijing, already at their lowest point in years thanks to the burgeoning trade war, policy differences and United States allegations of political interference.

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Much of Pence's remarks are meant to inform the public of what the USA government terms as China's covert and overt influence campaign. 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.

"Our intelligence community says that "China is targeting USA state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy", Pence said.

He accused China of waging a sophisticated influence campaign against Mr Trump's Republican Party in retaliation for his trade policies against Beijing.

Pence was also to use the phrase "debt diplomacy" in reference to China's efforts to expand its influence worldwide.

"What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country", he added.

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"There can be no doubt - China is meddling in America's democracy".

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.

"We remain committed to continuing an active dialogue with members from both sides of the aisle, working proactively with Congress on a variety of issues, explaining how our products help millions of American consumers and businesses, and answering questions as they arise", Pichai had said in a statement. "A Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to quickly manoeuvre to avoid collision".

"The United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand", he said.

The latest incident in the South China Sea comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, and the situation could soon worsen, as the United States military is reportedly considering a proposal for a major show of force as a warning to the Chinese, which perceive American actions moves to contain Chinese power.

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The PBS NewsHour will update this story as it develops.

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