Mike Pence, the US vice-president, has accused China of orchestrating a military, economic and political campaign to undermine Donald Trump’s administration and bolster Chinese influence in America and worldwide. “China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 [midterm congressional] elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections,” Mr Pence said yesterday. “To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working, and China wants a different American president.” The comments, made during a highly anticipated speech in Washington, came after Mr Trump used his platform at the United Nations General Assembly last week to allege that China was trying to interfere in November’s midterm elections. China denied the claims and neither the president nor his deputy have provided hard evidence of meddling. Mr Pence’s accusations are likely to aggravate an already delicate bilateral relationship given an escalating trade war, and will be embarrassing to China coming as it does during the country’s week-long celebrations of its founding. The harsh words also follow an incident on Sunday when a Chinese vessel came within 45 yards of a US destroyer conducting freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing the US ship to quickly change course… Read full this story
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