China "attempting to interfere" with 2018 US election

Charlene Craig
September 30, 2018

President Donald Trump on Wednesday accused China of attempting to interfere with the upcoming United States congressional elections, and claimed its efforts are motivated by opposition to his tough trade policy.

He offered few details, but said, "Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election".

Trump also used the Security Council session to defend the USA withdrawal in May from a 2015 global nuclear deal with Iran, hint at progress in US efforts to curb North Korea's nuclear program, and to criticize Iran and Russian Federation for supporting Syrian President Bashar al-Assad in the country's war, now in its eighth year.

There are concerns that the November elections could also be vulnerable.

Trump presented no evidence for his claims, and his top national security advisers told reporters in August they had not found specific examples of interference ahead of the midterms from countries other than Russian Federation, though they warned it remained a possibility.

Some in the audience also grumbled during Trump's remarks when he said "we reject the ideology" of globalism. "We don't want them to meddle or interfere in our upcoming elections".

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Later in the day, Trump addressed the advertorial directly and said China was attacking the farm belt with "ads ... that don't look like ads".

On Tuesday, in remarks at The Citadel, a military college in South Carolina, Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats said the Chinese government is "targeting US, state and local governments and officials" and "trying to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy".

"Those days are over, we will no longer tolerate such abuse", Trump said. "Against my administration", the president told the council. "I think he is preventing, or at least holding off, a near-term war with China-actual conventional war with China", Fleming said.

Tough sanctions are due to kick in against Tehran in November, and Mr Trump warned there would be "severe consequences" for any nation that defied them.

He was particularly vocal on China and President Xi Jinping.

The Trump administration says China is stepping up covert and overt activities to stifle free speech, punish those who support the president's tough trade stance against China and interfere in the US political system. He also mentioned Chinese government-led influence operations meant to bolster China's long-term influence in key countries, including the United States.

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Trump made the charged claim with members of the Chinese delegation, including Foreign Minister Wang Yi, sitting three seats down.

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"The activities have reached an unacceptable level", the official said on an official White House briefing call set up on condition of anonymity.

Trump said the current $250 billion package of tariffs levied against China-made goods is hurting China.

The United States and China are embroiled in a trade war, sparked by Trump's accusations that China has long sought to steal USA intellectual property, limit access to its own market and unfairly subsidize state-owned companies. This summer, reports also emerged that Russia's GRU intelligence agency, with an eye on the upcoming US elections, had attempted to hack accounts related to the re-election campaign of Sen.

Trump has accused China of interfering in the US midterm elections as a way to undermine his aggressive trade policies.

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