Pence Attacks China, Calls On Google To Halt Dragonfly Project

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The Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs was responding to the rhetoric used by US Vice-President Mike Pence in his speech on Thursday in which he criticised China's political, economic and military actions, and his allegations that it was interfering with next month's legislative elections in the US to undermine support for Trump.

The vice president's speech also touched on the sensitive topic of Taiwan, which Beijing considers an integral part of its territory despite the island being self-governed for nearly 70 years. But U.S. officials and independent analysts say they have not detected the kind of systematic manipulation of social media and email hacking Russian Federation was accused of in 2016.

President Donald Trump often boasts about his warm and friendly relationship with Chinese President Xi Jinping; but that alleged friendship has yet to produce fruit for the United States.

"Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States", Pence said.

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.

Foreign Minister Wang Yi dismissed Trump's claim at the United Nations General Assembly last week that China was meddling in the US midterm elections, calling the allegation " unwarranted".

Chris Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst and China expert now at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington, said Pence's speech appeared aimed at building a narrative that a vote for the Democrats would be vote for China. He will say an intelligence official told him that what "the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country".




Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of aggression in areas from security to trade as he portrayed the Asian power as a villain interfering in United States elections. "Our intelligence community says that 'China is targeting US state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy".

The vice president's tough talk comes as lawmakers from both parties have called on the administration to clamp down on Chinese trade and military actions - while also warming relations from an increasingly icy state. In a lengthy report released Thursday evening, the administration asserted that China "represents a significant and growing risk to the supply of materials and technologies deemed strategic and critical to USA national security". He accused China, Venezuela's largest creditor, of saddling the Venezuelan people with more than $50 billion in debt that will have to be repaid well after the government of Nicolás Maduro is gone.

"We now have no indication that a foreign adversary intends to disrupt our election infrastructure", said DHS Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen at a cyber security summit hosted by the Washington Post this past week.

The application "will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers, " Pence said.

-Senior Chinese officials have tried to influence business leaders to condemn US trade actions, "leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China". "In one recent example, they threatened to deny a business license for a major USA corporation if it refused to speak out against our administration's policies", he alleged.

Pence also criticized China over its patrols near Japanese-administered islands claimed by Beijing - known as the Senkaku in Japanese and Diaoyu in China. It also pressured Marriott to fire a USA employee who liked a tweet about Tibet. The movie "Red Dawn" was digitally edited to make the villains North Korean, not Chinese, Pence said. US officials have said they are considering targeted sanctions over alleged human rights abuses. "Even scholars and groups who avoid Chinese funding are targeted by that country, as the Hudson Institute found out firsthand", he said.

"It's not that other countries don't hire lobbyists and that sort of thing", national security adviser John Bolton told reporters hours after Pence's speech. The Trump administration has repeatedly warned Latin American leaders that the communist government would not think twice about taking Latin American shipping ports and assets, as it has before in other countries.

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