Vice President Mike Pence paints China as enemy in USA election

Vice President Mike Pence paints China as enemy in USA election

He accused Beijing of "reckless harassment" in an incident on Sunday in which a Chinese naval vessel almost collided with a United States destroyer near the Spratly islands.

Vice President Mike Pence escalated Washington's pressure campaign against Beijing on Thursday by accusing China of "malign" efforts to undermine President Donald Trump ahead of next month's congressional elections and of reckless military actions in the South China Sea.

Over half an hour, Mr Pence condemned China's growing control at home and overseas, citing examples of religious oppression, human rights abuses, visa delays and denials for scholars, and even intimidation campaigns against Chinese students in the US.

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.

The vice president cited United States 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 U.S. allegations of political interference.

"As a senior career member of our intelligence community recently told me: What the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country", Pence was to say.

The latest incident in the South China Sea comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, and the situation could soon worsen, as the U.S. 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.

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

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In his speech at the Hudson Institute on Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence laid out a series of what he described as China's "malign" activities - and alleged some of them were created to target voters in the 2018 election.

"The worldwide community has already known fully well who wantonly infringes upon others' sovereignty, interferes in others' internal affairs and undermines others' interests".

Analysts with the Eurasia Group consultancy noted the allegations of Chinese meddling are largely unsubstantiated and could allow Trump to distract from the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election. The world's two largest economies have been in an open trade war that shows no signs of slowing down.

"It is very ridiculous for the USA side to stigmatise its normal exchanges and cooperation with China as China interfering in its internal affairs and elections", Hua said.

He was to accuse Beijing of convincing three Latin American nations to sever ties with Taiwan and recognize China. China considers the self-ruled island a wayward province.

He criticized China for its militarization of the South China Sea, its trade practices and intellectual property theft, its crackdown on political opposition and religious groups at home and its political interference in the USA and around the world.

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

The vice president, a favourite of conservative US Christians, also criticised China on human rights, voicing disappointment that rising prosperity has not led to reforms.

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