China attempting to ‘influence’ and ‘interfere’ with 2024 US election, Blinken says

President Biden previously cautioned China’s president about staying out of this year’s presidential race

Andrew Feinberg
Washington DC
Friday 26 April 2024 15:13 BST
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he prepares to depart Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport en route to Beijing
US Secretary of State Antony Blinken waves as he prepares to depart Shanghai Hongqiao International Airport en route to Beijing (POOL/AFP via Getty Images)

The United States has learned of Chinese efforts to “influence and arguably interfere” with this year’s upcoming general election and is working to stop them, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said.

In an interview with CNN on the tail end of his three-day trip to China this week, Mr Blinken said he’d reiterated a warning President Joe Biden had delivered to Chinese leader Xi Jinping during their November 2023 summit, in which Mr Biden told Mr Xi not to get involved in the 2024 election.

At the time, Mr Xi reportedly told Mr Biden that China would not interfere or attempt to interfere in the upcoming balloting. But Mr Blinken now says it appears that promise is going unfulfilled.

“We have seen, generally speaking, evidence of attempts to influence and arguably interfere, and we want to make sure that that’s cut off as quickly as possible,” he said.

He added: “Any interference by China in our election is something that we’re looking very carefully at and is totally unacceptable to us, so I wanted to make sure that they heard that message again.”

China professes that it does not get involved in other nations’ internal affairs, but over the years Beijing and its allies and affiliates have been the subject of election-meddling accusations from multiple countries.

In 2020, Trump administration officials accused Beijing of attempting to interfere with that year’s presidential election. Many national security experts and pundits suggested at the time that the allegations were raised to distract from past foreign interference on behalf of then-president Donald Trump.

In 2016, Russia’s government mounted what the Department of Justice described as a “sweeping and systematic” effort to interfere in that year’s election to boost Mr Trump and denigrate his opponent, former Secretary of State Hillary Clinton. Ms Clinton ultimately went on to lose the 2016 race to Mr Trump, who is currently running to regain his former post after losing to Mr Biden four years ago.

Mr Trump solicited foreign support during his campaign in a speech his supporters claim was meant to be simply an attempt at humor. He later claimed that Russia did not interfere in the election on his behalf, despite evidence that it did.

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