Mike Pence warns of Chinese aggression ahead of midterms
Vice President Mike Pence warned Thursday that China is actively working on a “comprehensive and coordinated campaign” to undermine President Trump’s agenda and the 2018 midterm elections.
“As a senior career member of our intelligence community recently told me, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country,” he said at the Hudson Institute.
The vice president said “covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets” are targeting factions within local and federal governments and swaying business leaders. He pointed to the counties most affected by China’s retaliatory tariffs, many of which voted for Trump, as evidence the country was trying to “turn these voters against our administration.”
Mr. Pence warned that the Chinese government is looking to manipulate the media, academia and businesses by requiring them to accommodate the Communist Party or portray the government in a positive light.
The vice president said China is also growing more aggressive on the military front as it’s bolstered by its economic might.
“China wants nothing less than to push the United States of America from the Western Pacific and attempt to prevent us from coming to the aid of our allies,” he said.
Mr. Pence pointed to the near crash in the South China Sea this weekwhen a Chinese naval ship came dramatically close to the USS Decatur, as an example. He stressed that “despite such reckless harassment,” the U.S. “will not be intimidated.”
He also criticized China’s growing surveillance capabilities, which are directed abroad and toward its own people. He highlighted its use of “debt diplomacy” to influence other nations, noting China’s reach expands close to home.
In light of his warnings, Mr. Pence stressed that the administration would work to resist a more confident China.
“But our message to China’s rulers is this: This president will not back down and the American people will not be swayed,” the vice president said