'US has evidence of China's interference in elections': Antony Blinken
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'US has evidence of China's interference in elections': Antony Blinken

Secretary of State Blinken has asserted evidence of China's election interference and has reaffirmed the US's commitment to combat it while addressing pro-Palestinian protests and expressing concerns over China's support for Russia.

The United States has evidence of China's attempts to influence the upcoming US presidential elections, Secretary of State Antony Blinken has said. Blinken said this comes after President Joe Biden gave a message to Chinese President Xi Jinping, asking him not to interfere with the country's elections, to which the latter agreed.

Blinken's remarks came during an interview with CNN at the close of a three-day trip to China, where the top American diplomat spent hours meeting with top Chinese officials, including Xi.

On being asked if China was violating Xi's commitment to Biden so far, Blinken said, "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."

"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," Blinken said.

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'US has evidence of China's interference in elections': Antony Blinken

The US Secretary of State also said there was concern about China and other countries playing on existing social divisions in the US in influence campaigns.

Beijing has repeatedly said it does not interfere in US elections.

Meanwhile, China or actors that are believed to be affiliated with Beijing have been accused of political interference in other countries, such as Canada.

Speaking about the ongoing pro-Palestinian protests, the US Secretary of State acknowledged instances of antisemitism, but said "protests in and of themselves are not antisemitic."

Defending the American right to protest, Blinken said, "What we're also seeing is people, young people, people from different walks of life, who do feel very passionately, who've had very strong emotions about (the conflict)."

"We've certainly seen instances where that has clearly veered from a totally legitimate expression of views and beliefs, to in some instances, yes, clear expressions of antisemitism," he said.

During the conversation, Blinken also refuted reports claiming the US would stop sending weaponry to Israel, and said, "No, we are focused on what's in the interests of the United States."

"How do we best reflect both our interests and our values in our foreign policy across the board, whether that's with Israel, or with any anyone else," he asked.

Blinken also expressed his concerns about China's support for Russia, amid its war with Ukraine. He also said his country will take action, in addition to existing sanctions, on more than 100 Chinese entities and individuals, if such support continues.

"What we said to China is this – we're going to take actions we already have, and if it doesn't stop, we're going to have to take more action, and you can anticipate as well, that other countries will (too)," Blinken said.

He also said he raised the issue with both Foreign Minister Wang Yi and Xi.

"We're looking to them to act, and if they don't, we will," he said.

Earlier, Beijing had slammed the United States and alleged the country made baseless allegations over "normal trade and economic exchanges" between China and Russia.

China has long contended that it maintains neutrality in the Ukraine war and has continued to present itself as a potential peace broker in the conflict.

Source: India Today

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