Beijing blasts Pence’s speech on ‘Chinese meddling’

Kenny Grant
October 5, 2018

Vice President Mike Pence fired off a strong warning to China on Thursday, saying in a fiery speech, "We will not be intimidated and we will not stand down".

China has slammed the US Vice President's attack on its domestic and foreign policies as a total "slander" and a "very ridiculous" attempt by Washington to shift focus from its own meddling and infringement on others' sovereignty.

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.

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

Speaking on behalf of the White House, he held up the recent clash between U.S. and Chinese warships in the South China Sea as an example of Chinese "aggression".

"Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States", Pence said.

China's Defence Ministry said a Chinese naval ship had been sent to warn the United States vessel to leave and that Beijing had irrefutable sovereignty in the area.

Trump has justified his trade policy by accusing China of stealing intellectual property and limiting access to its market.

A Chinese Luyang-class destroyer sailed within 41 metres of the USS Decatur in the South China Sea on Sunday

Pence was to address the issue, saying that the USA intelligence community has determined that China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy.

Pence accused the Chinese of suppressing its citizens at home with the creation of "an unparalleled surveillance state", of brutally repressing religious minorities and of oppressing countries overseas through loan programs that favor Beijing and leave those nations beholden to China. The two countries have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other.

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.

Pence also said China had deployed anti-ship and anti-air missiles on islands it is building in the disputed South China Sea, despite promises not to militarize them.

"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.

He was to accuse Beijing of convincing three Latin American nations to sever ties with Taiwan and recognize China.

Pence also denounced China's manoeuvres in the South China Sea, its oppression of Christians, Muslims and other religious believers, and Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature infrastructure and foreign policy initiative.

"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. China considers the self-ruled island a wayward province.

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