China urges US to stop ‘slander’ after Trump’s election claims

China’s foreign ministry denied Trump’s accusation that Beijing is trying to influence the US congressional elections.

China-US trade war
US and China are engaged in an acrimonious trade war [Jonathan Ernst/Reuters]

China has accused US President Donald Trump of “slander” after he accused Beijing of trying to meddle in upcoming US congressional elections.

Trump told a UN Security Council (UNSC) meeting on Wednesday that Beijing was interfering in the November 6 mid-term elections because it opposes his tough stance on trade.

“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade and we are winning on trade,” said Trump.

But, in a press briefing in Beijing on Thursday, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Geng Shuang said Beijing does not interfere in other countries’ internal affairs.

“We advise the US to stop this unceasing criticism and slander of China,” said Geng. “Stop these wrong words and deeds that damage bilateral relations and the basic interests of both countries’ peoples.”

An advertorial bought by the state-run China Daily in an American newspaper was “normal cooperation” between US and foreign media, Geng said.

“To describe this as the Chinese government’s attempt to intervene in the US elections is purely far-fetched and false.”

Trump had earlier tweeted a picture of the advertorial taken out in a local newspaper in Iowa, calling it “propaganda”.

Al Jazeera’s Adrian Brown, reporting from Beijing, said Trump’s remarks at the UNSC had caught the Chinese authorities off guard.

The fallout with the United States has pushed China closer to Russia, he said.

“On many levels now, we are starting to see the relationship between Beijing and Washington gradually unravel. What we are [also] seeing is that Beijing and Moscow are getting closer. Russia and China want closer cooperation, particularly in the area of defence,” he said.

Deteriorating ties

The two countries, already engaged in an acrimonious trade war, continue to butt heads over a list of sensitive issues including the South China Sea and Taiwan.

On Thursday, China’s defence ministry said a recent mission by two US B-52 bomber aircraft over the disputed South China Sea was “provocative.”

China summoned the US ambassador to Beijing on Saturday and postponed joint military talks after Washington sanctioned a Chinese military agency and its director for buying Russian fighter jets and a surface-to-air missile system.

Beijing also denied a request for a US warship to visit Hong Kong, the US consulate in the Chinese city said on Tuesday.

China has expressed anger after the US approved the sale of spare parts for F-16 fighter planes and other military aircraft worth up to $330m to self-ruled Taiwan, which China considers part of its territory.

Source: Al Jazeera, News Agencies