China says USMCA deal will prevent Canada from free trade with Beijing

05 October, 2018, 20:42 | Author: Eric Barnett
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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence sharply criticized what he said was China's theft of U.S. technology on Thursday, and he urged Google to immediately end development of its "Dragonfly" app that would make it easier to track someone's internet searches.

Vice President Mike Pence is accusing China of trying to undermine President Donald Trump as the administration deploys tough new rhetoric over Chinese trade, economic and foreign policies.

Citing Trump's move to levy tariffs on $250 billion in Chinese imports and threatening to "levy even more, with the possibility of substantially more than doubling that number", Pence said that "the American people deserve to know that, in response to the strong stand that President Trump has taken, Beijing is pursuing a comprehensive and coordinated campaign to undermine support for the President".

Despite that, 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'.

Pence's remarks come a week after President Trump called out China for its interference during a meeting of the United Nations Security Council.

Noting that the Trump administration is now taking a more assertive stance towards China, Pence slammed Beijing's policies on everything from trade to maritime disputes in the South China Sea.

Pence said China has responded to Trump's tough trade policies against Beijing with tariffs of its own created to inflict maximum political damage.

"China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections", Pence said.


Pence also said China had deployed anti-ship and anti-air missiles on artificial islands in the disputed South China Sea, despite promises not to militarise them. Pence's speech marks a more aggressive line on China than the Trump administration has held previously, perhaps bolstered by Trump's recent success with rewriting NAFTA. As proof, Trump later referenced a paid advertising insert in The Des Moines Register by Chinese government-affiliated entities.

More official USA criticism of China is due to be released in a Pentagon-led report on risks to the supply of materials vital to the U.S. military, Reuters reported on Thursday.

Pence was to address the issue, saying that the USA intelligence community has determined that China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy.

Google declined to comment, except to reiterate that its China search engine project is "exploratory" and not close to launching.

Washington has shown increasing skepticism about the USA tech sector's ties to China.

"We will not be intimidated", Pence said of the operation, the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

Pence mentioned Taiwan several times in the speech, in particular criticising Beijing for pushing three Latin American nations to sever ties with Taipei.

China expert Chris Johnson, a former Central Intelligence Agency analyst now at Washington's Centre for Strategic and International Studies, said Pence's speech appeared aimed in part at building a narrative that a vote for the Democrats would be a vote for China. China considers the self-ruled island a wayward province.

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