China denies meddling in US midterm elections

Donald Trump claims that Beijing is seeking to influence midterm elections in the US by targeting his political base with tariffs. (AFP pic)

BEIJING: China on Wednesday denied US President Donald Trump’s claims that it was meddling in the US midterm elections by taking aim at his political base in their escalating trade war.

The comments came after Trump wrote a combative series of tweets on Tuesday claiming that Beijing’s retaliatory import duties on US goods were seeking to influence knife-edge midterm congressional elections.

But Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang rejected the claims, saying: “Anyone who has some knowledge of China’s diplomacy will know that we will not interfere in other countries’ domestic affairs.”

“We don’t want others to interfere in our domestic politics, and we will not interfere in the domestic politics of others,” Geng said at a regular press briefing.

The US announced on Monday that it would push ahead with tariffs on $200 billion in Chinese goods, on top of US$50 billion already targeted.

After China on Tuesday retaliated with duties on US$60 billion of American products, Trump accused China of trying to sway the elections.

“China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me,” Trump wrote on Twitter.

Accusations of election meddling are especially sensitive in the US, given the political maelstrom over Russia’s alleged intervention to support Trump in the 2016 presidential vote.