On Thursday, Vice President Mike Pence accused China of making efforts to undermine President Donald Trump through a wide variety of tactics. These tactics include tariffs that target supporters of Trump as well as using propaganda to exploit divisive issues in the United States, according to reports from Politico.
While giving a speech at the Hudson Institute, Pence said, “To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; China wants a different American president.”
While doing nothing to calm the growing tensions between the United States and China, Pence’s comments stand firmly in line with President Trump, who asserted last week at the United Nations General Assembly that “China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election.”
China immediately refuted Trump’s claims, saying they had zero involvement with anything related to election interference.
Pence made an effort to build on Trump’s accusations by mentioning several examples, but the ones he cited had already been in the public discourse.
The major example was the advertisement that was placed in the Des Moines Register, which was purchased by the Chinese government. Pence referred to Iowa as “a pivotal state in 2018.”
“The supplement, designed to look like news articles, cast our trade policies as reckless and harmful to Iowans,” said Pence as he described the situation. “But when our ambassador tried to place his own op-ed in Chinese newspapers, describing the truth about our policies, no Chinese outlet would publish it.”
China is actually placing propaganda ads in the Des Moines Register and other papers, made to look like news. That’s because we are beating them on Trade, opening markets, and the farmers will make a fortune when this is over! pic.twitter.com/ppdvTX7oz1
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 26, 2018
Pence revealed that American intelligence has found that “China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy,” adding “China is meddling in America’s democracy.”
Pence went on to explain that the tariffs placed by China in response to Trump’s tariffs against the country “specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election,” adding that “by one estimate, more than 80 percent of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump in 2016.”
This tactic is not only used by China, as Politico reports that American allies have used the same targeted tariffs and propaganda at America’s political weak points.
Pence also reiterated the United States’ long-running objection to China’s stealing of technology from American companies while also pointing out the lengths the country has gone to crack down on religious liberty.
He also used the phrase “debt diplomacy” in the description of China’s effort in international relations by providing large infrastructure loans to countries in Africa, Asia, and Latin America.