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China, Caught Meddling in Past Two US Elections, Claims 'Not Interested' in 2020 Vote

FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang speaks during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, Jan. 29, 2019.
FILE - Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang speaks during a daily briefing at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs office in Beijing, Jan. 29, 2019.

U.S. Intelligence agencies concluded the China meddled in both the 2016 and the 2018 elections, but after Beijing was accused by President Donald Trump this week of tilting the vote against him in 2020, a Chinese official said the country "is not interested" in interfering.

Trump told Reuters Wednesday that “China will do anything they can do to have me lose this race” in favor of Democratic Party opponent Joe Biden. Trump said China prefers a Biden win, believing he would ease the pressure Trump has put on Beijing through trade tariffs and other means.

“We have reiterated many times that the U.S. election is the U.S.’s own internal affair. China is not interested in interfering,” said China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. “At the same time, we hope the people of the U.S. will not drag China into its electoral politics.”

U.S. intelligence agencies concluded the Chinese hackers meddled in both the 2016 and 2018 elections. Internet security researchers say there have already been signs that China-allied hackers have engaged in so-called "spear-phishing" attacks on American political targets ahead of the 2020 vote.

The Trump administration has blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, which has thrown the U.S. into a deep recession and infected more than 1 million people in the U.S., more than any other country by far.

Trump said during the interview he was exploring various options to penalize Beijing over the pandemic, despite China’s insistence it effectively addressed the outbreak.

“The international community shares a common view on China's handling of the epidemic and China’s contributions to international cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus,” Shuang said.

Relations between the world’s two largest economies were strained before the coronavirus outbreak. Trump began intensifying a trade dispute with Beijing two years ago that deteriorated into retaliatory tariffs and ballooned into a trillion-dollar trade war.

The pandemic-triggered U.S. economic slowdown has Trump’s campaign concerned about his reelection chances, given that it planned to make the previously robust economy a key selling point in Trump’s reelection bid.

Polls show Biden leading Trump in the race for the White House. Real Clear Politics’ polling average, which includes data from dozens of pollsters, has Biden leading Trump 48% to 42%.

A new Emerson College poll shows Trump’s approval rating for how he has managed the pandemic has dropped 10 points from last month. The results show 39% of the poll’s respondents now approve of his handling of the crisis, a decline from 49% in March.

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