China Says US Claims of Election Meddling Are 'Ridiculous'

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China expert Chris Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst now at Washington's Center for Strategic and International Studies, said Pence's speech appeared aimed in part at building a narrative that a vote for the Democrats would be vote for China.

He said business leaders must think twice before entering the Chinese market "if it means turning over their intellectual property or abetting Beijing's oppression".

The vice president also brought up the increased aggression by China's navy in the South China Sea.

The Chinese Foreign Ministry took strong exception to every key element of Pence's speech.

"This is nothing but speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air".

China is always the builder of world peace, contributor to world development and defender of the global order, and China's economic and diplomatic activities around the globe are widely welcomed by other countries, said Hua, adding that China will by no means seek its own development at the expense of other countries' interests.

"We urge the US to correct its wrongdoing, stop groundlessly accusing and slandering China and harming China's interests and China-US ties", Ms Hua said in response to Mr Pence's scathing attack in a speech at the Hudson Institute, a US think-tank, in Washington on Thursday. Some commenters on China's heavily censored social media explicitly compared Pence's speech to Churchill's, but not in a complementary manner.

Bolton said that the Chinese efforts is not to just influence USA elections, but also influence American political opinion more broadly.

- Beijing compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not calling Taiwan a "province of China" on its website, he said.

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Pence claimed that an unnamed "senior career member of our intelligence community" had told him that "what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across the country".

In what was billed as a major policy address, Pence sought to build on Trump's speech at the United Nations last week in which he accused China of trying to interfere in the vote that will determine whether his Republican Party will keep control of Congress.

"And while our administration will continue to respect our "one China" policy, as reflected in the Three Joint Communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, let me also say that Taiwan's embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people", Pence was to say.

USA intelligence agencies assess that Russian Federation interfered in 2016 to boost Trump over his Democratic rival Hillary Clinton through hacking and releasing sensitive documents and social media manipulation. "But for others it's simply China stating its views", said David Bachman, a China scholar at the University of Washington in Seattle. "It's using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing's political influence".

National security adviser John Bolton said much of what the USA knows about Chinese activities in the United States remains classified.

One big difference between Churchill's Iron Curtain speech and Pence's remarks on Thursday is that Pence held out hope the new Cold War could still be avoided.

In the speech, Pence also made reference to Chinese authorities' threats to U.S. companies - such as Delta Airlines - forcing them to list Taiwan as part of China on their websites.

China insists it wants all of those things as well and bristles at accusations to the contrary.

Former US Federal Reserve governor Kevin Warsh described relations as "probably as poor as" it was before the Nixon administration opened up links between the world's two biggest economic superpowers more than four decades ago.

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