During a UN Security Council meeting convened to discuss the proliferation of weapons of mass destruction, President Donald Trump instead hurled bombs at the Chinese government. “We found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election, coming up in November, against my administration,” Trump told the council, where representatives from China were seated.
“They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade,” Trump said. This week, his administration implemented a fresh round of tariffs against Chinese goods, bringing the total value of sanctioned imports up to $250 billion.
China Foreign Minister Wang Yi, who was in the Security Council session, immediately rebuked the accusation. “We do not and will not interfere in any country’s domestic affairs,” Wang fumed. “We refuse to accept any unwarranted accusations against China.”
Beijing has previously been accused of meddling in domestic politics by Australia’s government as well. In June, Canberra passed a sweeping new law targeting foreign interference, which many believed was a direct response to a perceived China threat.
Trump’s remark at the U.N. was the second time he has accused China of political meddling this month. On September 18, Trump sent a tweet alleging that China had “openly stated” it was trying to interfere in U.S. elections by targeting Trump’s voter base—farmers, ranchers, and industrial workers—with its retaliatory tariffs.
Some Chinese media have bought space in local newspapers of farming states to run negative coverage on the trade war. On Sunday, a four-page section paid for and written by China Daily, a state-owned newsgroup, appeared in Iowa’s Des Moines Register. One of the articles in the section presented the trade war’s impact on local soybean farmers as the “fruit of a president’s folly.”
Following his own remarks at the U.N. Security Council meeting on Wednesday, Trump told reporters, “We have evidence. It will come out.”
A senior official in the Trump administration told reporters also that the U.S. planned to declassify information regarding Chinese political interference ahead of a speech on the issue by Vice President Mike Pence due next week.