US Vice President Mike Pence raised the stakes in the ongoing dispute between the two countries when he delivered a sabre-rattling speech accusing Beijing of cyber warfare, interfering with US democracy and endangering the lives of US servicemen with reckless military actions in the South China Sea.
In what was billed as a major policy address, Mr. Pence sought to build on Trump's speech at the United Nations last week in which he alleged that China was trying to interfere in the pivotal November 6 mid-term elections.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said: "These are unwarranted accusations against China's domestic and foreign policies and they slandered China by claiming that China meddles in United States internal affairs and elections".
China called US accusation of interference in its elections "extremely ridiculous", and defended its foreign policy record in response to a lengthy criticism by US Vice-President Mike Pence.
Pence said China was waging a sophisticated effort to sway the elections against the Republicans in retaliation for Trump's trade policies. "The chinese side is firmly opposed to this", said the spokesperson.
Pence's speech at Washington's Hudson Institute marked a sharpened USA approach toward China going beyond the bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies. After that election, the USA intelligence community issued a public report concluding that the Russian government had directed an effort to help elect Trump.
"China wants to turn these voters against our administration", Pence said.
Pence was to deliver an address at the Hudson Institute think tank in Washington, which is likely to increase tensions between the U.S. and China beyond trade disputes. A recent intelligence report said China uses joint ventures to try to acquire technical know-how, seeks partnerships with US government labs to learn about specific technology and information about running such facilities, and uses front companies to hide the hand of the Chinese government and acquire technology under USA export controls.
"A core threat to the American industrial base comes from China", White House Trade Adviser Peter Navarro wrote in a leading English daily.
Citing intelligence, Pence said: "China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy".
He also criticised China's "aggression" in the South China Sea, its "debt diplomacy", theft of United States technology, crackdown on religious practice at home and its squeezing of Taiwan's global space, among other things.
"Beijing compelled Delta Airlines to publicly apologize for not calling Taiwan a "province of China" on its website".
"The claim that the Chinese side proposed to postpone the Second Round of the China-U.S".
- Beijing's censors edit or outlaw US movies that criticize China. "Even scholars and groups who avoid Chinese funding are targeted by that country, as the Hudson Institute found out firsthand", he said.
Specifically, Pence took aim at Google, wanting the tech company to stop a software project saying it would accelerate censorship efforts in China.
He will add: "The United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand".
He also says China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion. And we will work with leaders at every level of society to defend our national interests and most cherished ideals.