President Donald Trump claimed on Wednesday that China is working to interfere in November’s midterm elections with the aim of damaging him politically.”Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration,” Trump said during remarks at the UN Security Council.
The President offered scant details or evidence, which came during a session meant to focus on issues of nonproliferation. He suggested the meddling attempts came as retribution for the budding trade war he has waged with Beijing.
“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade,” Trump said. “We are winning on trade. We are winning at every level. We don’t want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming election.”
Speaking after Trump, China’s representative on the Security Council denied attempts to interfere in US elections.”China has all along followed the principle of non-interference in other countries’ domestic affairs. This is a tradition of Chinese foreign policy,” said Wang Yi, China’s State Councilor and Minister for Foreign Affairs. “We do not and will not interfere in any countries’ domestic affairs.
We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China, and we call upon other countries to also observe the purposes of the UN charter and not to interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.”A senior administration official on Wednesday sought to flesh out Trump’s allegation earlier Wednesday that China “has been attempting to interfere” in the 2018 midterm elections, but offered no concrete evidence to back up the President’s claim.
None of the activities the official described rose to the level of Russia’s coordinated campaign to influence voters in 2016 in support of Trump’s candidacy.
Instead, the official lumped in longstanding practices of the Chinese government and reiterated the administration’s belief that Chinese tariffs targeting regions in the US that supported the President in 2016 amount to election interference.
The official described a “whole of government approach using political, economic, commercial and informational tools to benefit the interests of the Chinese Communist Party” and insisted that these activities “go way beyond how normal countries interact with one another.” “The activities have reached an unacceptable level,” the official said on an official White House briefing call set up on condition of anonymity.