Pence says Google should halt Dragonfly app development

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Much of Pence's remarks are meant to inform the public of what the US government terms as China's covert and overt influence campaign. "China is meddling in America's democracy".

"Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups and propaganda outlets to shift Americans' perception of Chinese policies", he said.

Even so, Pence said: "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".

Vice President Mike Pence on Thursday accused China of aggression in areas from security to trade as he portrayed the Asian power as a villain interfering in USA elections.

The vice president's remarks mark another escalation in the Trump administration's efforts to pressure China to reform its trade practices and rein in its military expansionism.

The vice president said that Chinese security agencies have masterminded "the wholesale theft of American technology" and that Beijing works to steal United States intellectual property, leading to a "new consensus" among U.S. businesses about investing there. Google, Pence said, "should immediately end development of the "Dragonfly" app that will strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers", he said.

Pence said China was waging a sophisticated effort to sway the elections against the Republicans in retaliation for Trump's trade policies. The remarks underscore administration concern that anxiety over the trade battle could hurt Republican performance in the November 6 vote.


At the same time, Pence said Trump continues to forge a "strong personal relationship" with Chinese President Xi Jinping. But that's normal. The Americans do it. Neither Trump nor Pence provided hard evidence of Chinese meddling.

The administration has imposed tariffs on some $250 billion worth of Chinese exports.

The report, which resulted from a Trump directive in July 2017 to assess the health of industries whose products and services are important to national defence, also accused China of "systematic theft" of US weapons systems and the illicit transfer of dual-use technology that has upset the military balance between the USA and China. "Can't talk now, because they're not ready", Trump said on Monday after announcing a new trade pact with Canada and Mexico at the White House.

Since Mr. Trump took office previous year, his administration has escalated pressure on China, most recently with several rounds of tit-for-tat economic trade tariffs on hundreds of billions in goods.

The Chinese tariffs "specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election", he said. "And, number two, I think there's been some attempt on the USA side to force something like the US will get 100 percent and China will get zero".

He also accused China of using "debt diplomacy" to trap other countries into political cooperation through "questionable loans" to nation's such as Sri Lanka and Venezuela.

"By using offensive rhetoric about migrants, stirring trade tensions, and reducing foreign assistance, Donald Trump is helping to create an opening for China in Latin America", Feierstein said.


Pence also assailed China over its actions in the South China Sea, where the US has criticized the Chinese government for building military bases on reclaimed reefs.

Pence described the encounter in which a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards (41 meters) of the USS Decatur as "reckless harassment", and repeated a USA refrain: that the United States Navy "will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand". China accused the US of violating its "indisputable sovereignty".

"Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever global law allows", Pence said.

"We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down".

According to Axios, the White House has been planning an "administration-wide" effort to "call out" and act upon China's reported actions against the U.S. Unnamed sources also told Axios the White House sees China as a threat to the U.S. on par with Russian Federation.

"Beijing now requires American joint ventures that operate in China to establish "party organisations" within their company, giving the Communist Party a voice - and perhaps a veto - in hiring and investment decisions", he said. China considers the self-ruled island a wayward province.

Pence's speech served as a follow-up of sorts to Trump's charge before the U.N. Security Council last month that China was meddling in US elections to help Democrats.


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