China yesterday rejected US President Donald Trump’s accusations that Beijing is trying to interfere with US congressional elections, a move that further raises tensions as the world’s biggest economies fight a trade war.
“We urge the US to stop smearing and accusing China,” Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Geng Shuang (耿爽) said at a regular briefing in Beijing. “China has all along followed the principle of non-interference and refuses to accept any groundless accusations.”
Trump on Wednesday said that Beijing was meddling in November’s midterms because it opposes his tough trade policies, and said in response to a question that he and Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平) might not be friends anymore as a result.
“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade,” Trump said as he chaired the UN Security Council for the first time.
Asked later what evidence he had, Trump said there was “plenty,” but did not immediately provide details, suggesting that some of the material was classified.
Instead, Trump zeroed in on China’s propaganda efforts to flood the heartland with advertisements and statements against his billions of dollars in punishing tariffs.
Trump’s comments came three days after China placed an advertising supplement in Iowa’s largest newspaper attacking his trade policies.
“I don’t like it when they attack our farmers and I don’t like it when they put out false messages. But beside that, we learned that they are trying to meddle in our elections and we’re not going to let that happen just as we’re not going to let that happen with Russia,” he said.
A senior Trump administration official who briefed reporters about Trump’s comments said that China was stepping up covert and overt activities to punish those who support Trump’s tough trade stance and interfere in the political system.
The only specifics given by the official, who spoke on condition of anonymity, were that China is hurting farmers and workers in states and districts that voted for Trump.
China stifles free speech on US campuses and punishes or rewards businesses, think tanks, movie studios and political candidates for criticizing or supporting Chinese politics, the official said.
More information would be declassified in coming days and that US Vice President Mike Pence was expected to speak on the issue next week, he said.
Chinese Minister of Foreign Affairs Wang Yi (王毅) shrugged when he heard Trump’s statement via translation at the Security Council.
“We do not and will not interfere in any countries’ domestic affairs,” he later said. “We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China, and we call on other countries to also observe the purposes of the UN charter and not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.”
The ad had been in accordance with US law that allows the cooperation of foreign and US media, Geng told the briefing in Beijing.
He said that categorizing the action as Chinese interference in the US election was “far-fetched and false.”
With the elections less than two months away, US intelligence and election-protection officials have not cited any specific, credible Chinese efforts.
TAIPEI REACTIONS: Joanne Ou decried China’s ‘gangster diplomacy,’ while MOFA said its Fiji counterpart dealt fairly with the incident and protected the trade office’s rights The world should denounce the actions of Chinese embassy staffers in Fiji against a Taiwanese diplomat during a National Day celebration in Suva, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MOFA) said yesterday as it thanked the Fijian government for its help after the Oct. 8 incident. Two Chinese diplomats tried to force their way into a celebration held by the Taipei Trade Office in Fiji at the Grand Pacific Hotel in Suva on Oct. 8, and a Taiwanese diplomat who tried to stop them taking photographs suffered a head injury. MOFA spokeswoman Joanne Ou (歐江安) told a news briefing that the ministry
The US, Japan and Australia conducted trilateral naval exercises in the South China Sea on Monday, the US Seventh Fleet announced yesterday. It was their fifth joint operations this year in the fleet’s area of operations, it said in a statement. The Arleigh Burke-class guided-missile destroyer USS John S. McCain joined the JS Kirisame of the Japan Maritime Self Defense Force and the Royal Australian Navy’s HMAS Arunta. The Arunta’s commanding officer, Commander Troy Duggan, said that Australia was continuing to build on its already close relationship with Japan and the US. “This activity is a valuable and important opportunity for all three nations,”
ONGOING PROBE: A former Military Intelligence Bureau colonel, major general and another colonel, as well as five other people, have been questioned by prosecutors The Taipei District Court yesterday ordered that a retired colonel from the Military Intelligence Bureau (MIB) calling himself Taiwan’s “first special agent” be detained and held incommunicado as part of an ongoing investigation into espionage allegations targeting at least three former bureau officials. The Taipei District Prosecutors’ Office was seeking to detain former MIB colonel Chang Chao-jan (張超然) over his alleged involvement in introducing retired agents to Chinese national security authorities and passing confidential documents to China. Chang’s actions, if proven, would contravene the National Security Act (國家安全法), which carries a prison term of three to 10 years, and the National Intelligence
Seabed waste off the west coast is 1.5 times higher than the global average, with the mouth of the Tamsui River (淡水河) nearly 90 times dirtier, the environmental consultancy IndigoWaters (澄洋環境顧問) said yesterday. The firm in September last year began collaborating with local oceanographers on Taiwan’s first survey of seabed waste off the west coast, collecting 6,000 samples from near the mouths of eight rivers and conducting 215 inspections. Of the samples, 83.3 percent were found to contain trash, the group said. Based on the survey, every square kilometer of seabed had about 121,074 pieces of trash weighing 102kg, IndigoWaters chief executive Yen