China says Pence's allegations of meddling created 'out of thin air'

Pence accuses Beijing of meddling in US elections: ‘China wants a different American president’

Vice President Mike Pence launched a broad attack against Beijing Thursday, accusing China of "predatory" economic practices, military aggression against the U.S. and of trying to undermine President Donald Trump and harm his chances of winning re-election.

In what was billed as a major policy address, Mr Pence sought to build on Mr Trump's speech at the United Nations last week in which he alleged that China was trying to interfere in U.S. elections. During a subsequent press conference, Mr. Trump told reporters, "We have evidence".

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.

Pence also accused Beijing of showing its "aggression" when a Chinese navy vessel recently sailed in the dispute-ridden South China Sea near the USS Decatur destroyer, which according to U.S. officials had to make a quick detour to avoid collision.

While the vice president stressed the threats posed by China to American interests, he emphasised that the United States desires a productive relationship with Beijing.

US 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.

Pence cited China's advertisements in USA media and its targeting of politically strategic states when singling out goods for retaliation following tariffs imposed by Trump.

Pence pointed to Trump's tough line on Beijing, particularly Trump's decision to impose $250 billion in tariffs on goods coming from the country.

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"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.

The vice president said that Chinese security agencies have masterminded "the wholesale theft of American technology" and that Beijing works to steal USA intellectual property, leading to a "new consensus" among United States businesses about investing there.

He also urged Google (GOOGL.O) 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 artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, despite promises not to militarise them.

China's Defense Ministry said a Chinese naval ship had been sent to warn the USA vessel to leave and that Beijing had irrefutable sovereignty over the South China Sea islands and the waters around them.

Pence also denounced Beijing's crackdown on minority Muslims in the Xinjiang region.

"We will not be intimidated", Mr Pence said of the operation, the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters. China considers the self-ruled island a wayward province.

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