Biden tells China’s Xi to stay out of US elections


President Joe Biden again warned Chinese President Xi Jinping against meddling in the November U.S. presidential election during the two leaders’ phone call Tuesday. The call is part of U.S. efforts to maintain “open lines of communication to responsibly manage competition and prevent unintended conflict,” the White House said.

In various engagements, the U.S. has raised its “continual reinforcement of concern” against Chinese election interference, a senior administration official told reporters in a Monday briefing previewing the call.

Asked after the call if the issue had been raised, White House national security communications adviser John Kirby said, “We’ve been clear consistently, even going back to the November meeting in California, about our concerns over our own election security and — and efforts by certain actors, including some from the PRC, to — to affect that.”

Biden last raised the issue in his meeting with Xi in Woodside, California, last November. Beijing has repeatedly said it has no interest in meddling in U.S. internal affairs.

“I don’t think we ever really take the Chinese at their word when they say they will or will not do something,” the senior administration official said. “It is about verifying.”

A declassified U.S. intelligence threat assessment released in February warned of Beijing’s “higher degree of sophistication in its influence activity,” including by using generative AI. The report warned of “growing efforts to actively exploit perceived U.S. societal divisions” online.

“Spamouflage, a persistent China-linked influence operation, has weaponized U.S. political, economic, and cultural wedge issues in its campaigns,” said Max Lesser, a senior analyst of Emerging Threats at the Foundation for Defense of Democracies.

Spamouflage leverages specific issues to target Biden, Lesser told VOA. For example, a post sharing an article from Fox news covering a Pro-Palestinian protest was shared by a Spamouflage account with the added commentary “Biden’s defeat is a foregone conclusion.”

Liu Pengyu, a spokesperson for the Chinese Embassy in Washington said in a statement sent to VOA that China is “committed to the principle of non-interference” and that claims about Beijing influencing U.S. presidential elections are “completely fabricated.”

The leaders also reviewed progress on key issues discussed at the Woodside Summit, including counter-narcotics cooperation to curb fentanyl trafficking and the recently re-established military-to-military communication, addressing AI-related risks, and efforts on climate change and people-to-people exchanges, the White House said in its readout of the call.

Source: VOA