During a UN Security Council meeting on Wednesday, US President Donald Trump accused China of meddling in the upcoming midterm elections. The charge was immediately rejected by Chinese State Councilor and Foreign Minister Wang Yi.
Calling himself the first US president to challenge China on trade issues, Trump said that Beijing did not want his Republican party to win the midterms as the US is winning the trade war.
“The principle of non-interference with the internal affairs of other countries has been and will always be a cornerstone of China’s foreign policy,” Wang told the UN Council.
Trump said on his Twitter account last week that China is, “actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me.”
With the trade war underway and at the level it is at now, China has few options but to implement countermeasures against agricultural and industrial products from the US, such as soybeans and automobiles. Had the US been in the same situation, it would undoubtedly have generated a similar list of countermeasures.
Trump’s accusations are part of his creative campaign strategy to connect China with the US midterms. Russia was accused of intervening in the US presidential election which has remained a major issue ever since. American society is the least accepting when it comes to outside intervention with their elections. It is likely that Trump is using a canvassing tactic in levying such allegations against China. His goal here is to turn the issue into a game by targeting China to help him and the GOP attract more votes.
It is true Chinese netizens have suggested that China should focus their tariff retaliation on US states where Trump received the most votes during the presidential election. Since the US tariffs have jeopardized China, it is a natural reaction for Chinese citizens to talk about possible counter measures against the US.
However, not one Chinese official has yet to respond to any of the online suggestions. China has always held steadfast to the principle that a trade war is solely a trade war, and trade frictions shall not spread to other areas. It is a principle that has always been the mainstream opinion of Chinese society.
The White House needs to be upfront with its own party and explain that the more intense this trade war becomes, the more Republican voters will find themselves the targets of China’s retaliation while diminishing Trump’s reelection aspirations for 2020. China did not initiate this trade war, but it will not hesitate to seek revenge every time trade friction upgrades occur.
The truth is that the people currently in office at the White House are hitting out at their own supporters while placing the blame on China.
It is entirely up to everyone in Chinese society to decide what US-made products they should buy. Some US presidents have persuaded China to buy more American-made products after they have been reelected, and especially so from states where they received the most votes. It is interesting how a few US politicians have claimed that the rapid growth of China’s purchasing power in the US marketplace is the result election tampering. It is almost as if US presidents are the ones who have “invited” China to meddle in their elections.
Were it not the case, when China says “no” to US imports, their actions should not be regarded as a form of Chinese interference in US internal affairs.
Trump routinely applauds himself for his achievements and has already declared victory over the trade war against China. It seems the trade war they started, and against more than just one nation, will serve as a memorial for Washington’s 21st century achievements. However, if all of it were true, then Trump wouldn’t have worry about China’s alleged meddling in US elections.
If the system currently used to handle the midterms is so fragile that it can be tampered with by powerhouses like China and Russia, and also by smaller countries, then the system itself is obviously nothing short of a farce. The accusations against China hold no ground whatsoever.
If their presidential seat can be determined by outside forces, then other countries wouldn’t have to deal with US suppression or sanctions. Judging from the recent hardline reactions toward China, it is unlikely that congressional leaders and the president have been turned into puppets by international hackers or businessmen.
It would be best if Trump could assert a level of caution when speaking at UN headquarters. Fabricated stories and slogans designed to trick American voters will not have the same effect with UN members.
(Editorial of Global Times, China published on 2018/09/27)
(In Association with: Global Times, China)