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Business News/ Politics / Xi Jinping promised Joe Biden China wouldn’t interfere in US Presidential Polls 2024: Report
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Xi Jinping promised Joe Biden China wouldn’t interfere in US Presidential Polls 2024: Report

Those discussions signal just how fraught US-China relations have become, and how wary American officials still are of foreign election meddling.

FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (REUTERS)Premium
FILE PHOTO: US President Joe Biden shakes hands with Chinese President Xi Jinping (REUTERS)

China's premiere Xi Jinping had told US President Joe Biden that Beijing would refrain from interfering in the upcoming US Presidential Elections 2024. The promise by Xi Jinping was made when the two leaders met at in November 2023, according to a CNN report. The assurance was also assurance reiterated by the Chinese foreign minister to Biden’s national security adviser over the past weekend. 

Those discussions are representative of just how fraught the relations between United States and China has become. The assurance also reflects how wary American officials still are of foreign election meddling after 2016, when Russian intelligence agencies hacked the Democratic National Committee and released emails to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.

The US Intelligence Reports have said that since 2016 Iranian, Cuban and Chinese agents have all been active in trying to influence US elections, though none of those efforts have been as aggressive.

As the US presidential campaign moves closer to a Donald Trump-Joe Biden rematch, China is watching uneasily.

First, there are concerns about the campaign itself, where candidates are likely to talk tough on China. That could threaten the fragile improvements in US-China relations seen in recent months.

Then there’s the outcome of the November vote. Neither candidate is particularly appealing to Beijing. 

While Joe Biden has looked for areas of cooperation with China, Beijing is concerned about his efforts to unite allies in the Indo-Pacific in a coalition against China. It’s also nervous about his approach to Taiwan after he has repeatedly said he would have US troops defend it in a conflict with China.

Donald Trump, with his isolationist approach to foreign policy, might be more hesitant to defend Taiwan. 

But nothing can be ruled out given Donald Trump's unpredictability and his tough rhetoric on China, which he blames for the Covid-19 outbreak that dogged the end of his term. Trump could also potentially deepen a trade war that hasn’t eased since his presidency.

Even with the slight improvement in relations, tensions remain high, particularly over Taiwan. The question of who is in the White House could have enormous consequences not only for US-China relations but for peace in the Asia-Pacific region.

When Biden and Trump squared off in 2020, US intelligence agencies reported before the election that China viewed Donald Trump as “unpredictable" and opposed his reelection. A subsequent assessment issued months after the election said that China ultimately had not interfered on either side and “considered but did not deploy" influence operations intended to affect the outcome.

Once elected, Joe Biden retained his predecessor's China policy. Not only did President Biden keep the tariffs but he also limited access by Chinese companies to advanced technologies, sanctioned Chinese officials over human rights violations and expanded restrictions on China-bound US monies.

Joe Biden's secretary of state, Antony Blinken, in 2022 called China the “most serious long-term challenge to the international order."

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Published: 31 Jan 2024, 06:25 AM IST
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