China slams a series of accusations from US Vice President Mike Pence regarding next month's congressional elections, cyberattacks, the South China Sea and Taiwan, saying his arguments are fabricated rumors and totally groundless.
Addressing Washington's Hudson Institute on Thursday, Pence said China was waging a sophisticated effort to sway the elections against the Republicans in retaliation for President Donald Trump's trade policies.
He vowed to continue to expose Beijing's "malign influence and interference."
Pence said Beijing, with an eye not only to the congressional elections but also to Trump's 2020 re-election bid, had “mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans' perception of Chinese policies” and was targeting its tariffs to hurt states where Trump has strong support.
"China wants a different American president," Pence said.
In Pence's long list of accusations, he picked on China's investment in Africa, saying Beijing is using "debt diplomacy" and "is employing a whole-of-government approach to advance its influence and benefit its interests."
Speaking of the South China Sea, Pence said China had deployed anti-ship and anti-air missiles on artificial islands in the water, despite promises not to militarize them.
Referring to an incident on Sunday in which a Chinese warship was deployed to warn a US vessel to leave the waters of the Nansha Islands, Pence claimed it was China's latest attempt to limit freedom of navigation.
US Vice President Mike Pence addresses the Washington-based Hudson Institute, October 4, 2018. /AP Photo
He also accused Beijing of convincing three Latin American countries to recognize Beijing as the legitimate and sole government of China, not Taipei.
China's Foreign Ministry reacted quickly. The spokeswoman Hua Chunying said Pence's speech is based on hearsay evidence and fabricated rumors rather than China's actual domestic and foreign policies, and China strongly rejects such groundless accusations.
Hua said China always upholds "non-interference" principles and it has no interests in interfering American politics.
China is committed to building world peace and growth, and its overseas economic and diplomatic activities did not and will not sacrifice other countries' interests, she said.
China will follow its own path of development and will continue to endeavor in reform and opening-up and will cooperate with countries globally, she said, adding that "any efforts to undermine China's development can only end in vain."
The spokeswoman also urged the US to take a constructive role in the bilateral ties.
She said Beijing is committed to working with Washington to achieve non-confrontational, mutual respect and win-win cooperation and a sound and stable bilateral relationship, and it urges the US to correct its wrongdoings and stop jeopardizing China's interests.