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As reported by Reuters, US President Donald Trump has accused China of attempting to meddle in America’s upcoming mid-term election, a charge that China leaders in Shanghai have flat-out denied.

Key highlights

Trump informed a United Nations Security Council meeting that China has been “attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election”, amidst a meeting where the UN was discussing the nonproliferation of weapons of mass destruction.

Trump’s reasoning rests on the four-page supplemental ad that a Chinese state-run media outlet in the Sunday Des Moines Register, which promoted and outlined the mutually beneficial aspects of open trade between the US and China.

The practice of foreign governments buying advertising space in domestic newspapers is a common strategy for promoting trade, and is a far cry from the cloak-and-dagger accusations that President Trump is insinuating.

Carol Hunter, the executive editor of the Des Moines Register, noted that it isn’t surprising that the China Daily purchased ad space promoting trade in the newspaper. The Des Moines Register is Iowa’s single largest news organization, and Iowa farmers are disproportionately affected by President Trump’s tariffs on China, which have far-reaching implications for the US agricultural sector.

A senior Trump administration official said China uses political, economic, commercial, military and information tools to influence U.S. public opinion and promote the interests of the Chinese government and Communist Party.  U.S. Vice President Mike Pence plans to make a speech next week detailing the allegations, said the official, who spoke to reporters on condition of anonymity, saying the U.S. government was working to declassify further information on the matter. – Reuters