BEIJING (Reuters) – China has no interest in interfering in the U.S. presidential election, it said on Thursday, after U.S. President Donald Trump said he believed Beijing would try to make him lose his re-election bid in November.
“The U.S. presidential election is an internal affair, we have no interest in interfering in it,” Chinese foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang told reporters during a daily briefing.
“We hope the people of the U.S. will not drag China into its election politics.”
In an interview for Reuters on Wednesday Trump said “China will do anything they can to have me lose this race”, adding that he believed Beijing wants his Democratic opponent, Joe Biden, to win the election to ease the pressure Trump has placed on China over trade and other issues.
Trump also said during the interview he was looking at different options in terms of consequences for Beijing over the coronavirus pandemic.
He and other top officials have blamed China for COVID-19, the respiratory disease caused by the new coronavirus. It has infected more than 1 million Americans and has thrown the U.S. economy into a deep recession.
“There are many things I can do,” Trump told Reuters. “We’re looking for what happened.”
Geng reiterated during Thursday’s briefing that China was a victim of the epidemic and not its accomplice, adding that attempts by “certain politicans” to shift the blame away from their poor handling of the outbreak to Beijing would only “expose the problems of the U.S. itself”.
“The U.S. should know this: the enemy is the virus, not China,” he said.
Reporting by Cate Cadell; writing by Se Young Lee; Editing by Gareth Jones