Washington: US president Donald Trump has escalated his tirade against China and accused it of trying to influence US mid-term elections by attacking American farmers, ranchers and industrial workers, a charge denied by Beijing.
Trump did not offer evidence to support his accusation nor did he specify whether it was the upcoming mid-term elections in November which China was allegedly targeting. He tweeted:
China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me. What China does not understand is that these people are great patriots and fully understand that.....
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2018
He followed up with a threat of additional tariffs, adding:
.....China has been taking advantage of the United States on Trade for many years. They also know that I am the one that knows how to stop it. There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted! — Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) September 18, 2018
The accusation comes one day after China promised to take "countermeasures" against Trump's plan to impose tariffs on an additional $200 billion worth of Chinese imports. The new duties, which take effect on 24 September, will begin at 10 percent, then rise to 25 percent on 1 January, 2019.
China responded to the latest announcement by hiking tariffs on $60 billion worth of US imports. The more than 5,000 products affected include coffee, honey, and industrial chemicals, according to reports.
Reacting to Trump's accusation of election interference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "Anyone who has some knowledge of China's diplomacy will know that we will not interfere in other countries' domestic affairs," adding that "We don't want others to interfere in our domestic politics, and we will not interfere in the domestic politics of others."
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Updated Date: Sep 19, 2018 14:56:25 IST