China attempting to interfere with 2018 US election – Trump

  • 26 Sep 2018

US President Donald Trump accuses Beijing of bids to interfere with the upcoming congressional elections, saying its efforts are motivated by opposition to his tough trade policy. Beijing rejects Trump's accusation.

President Donald Trump, seated at the centre of an arc-shaped table, uttered tough words against Iran, saying that a government with Iran's track record "must never be allowed to obtain" a nuclear weapon. ( AP )

US President Donald Trump accused China on Wednesday of working against his Republican party in upcoming midterm polls, saying Beijing wanted to see him suffer an electoral blow because of his hard line on trade.

"Regrettably we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election coming up in November against my administration," Trump said at the UN Security Council meeting.

"They do not want me or us to win because I am the first president ever to challenge China on trade."

The Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi  immediately rejected Trump's accusation, saying "We do not and will not interfere."

TRT World's Nicole Johnston reports.

Trump did not go into details about how he believed China was interfering in the midterms, which could see the Republicans lose control of both the Senate and House of Representatives.

But his allegation comes as trade tensions soar between Beijing and Washington, which this week enacted new tariffs against China covering another $200 billion of its imports. 

Turkey hailed for averting Idlib crisis

Trump, seated at the centre of an arc-shaped table, also uttered tough words against Iran, saying that a government with Iran's track record "must never be allowed to obtain" a nuclear weapon.

At the same time, he thanked Iran, Russia and Syria for slowing their attack on Idlib province in Syria. 

He also hailed Turkey for averting an offensive in Idlib by negotiating a deal with Russia.

Last week, Moscow and Ankara reached a deal to avoid a regime offensive against Idlib, the last major rebel-held stronghold in Syria.

On Iran nuclear deal

As chairman of a session of the top UN body, Trump denounced the "horrible, one-sided" nuclear deal with Iran that he ditched in May, to the dismay of European allies.

A gavel-wielding Trump vowed that reimposed sanctions will be "in full force" and urged world powers to work with the United States to "ensure the Iranian regime changes its behaviour and never acquires a nuclear bomb."

Addressing the council after Trump, French President Emmanuel Macron hit back, declaring that concerns about Iran cannot be reduced to "a policy of sanctions and containment" that was in place for years before the landmark deal.

Macron was backed by Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May, who said an internationally brokered accord with Iran remained the best way to prevent Tehran from developing nuclear weapons despite Washington's withdrawal from the 2015 agreement.

"It remains the best means of preventing Iran developing a nuclear weapon and we are committed to preserving the JCPOA as long as Iran continues to abide by its obligations in full," May said.

Britain's Prime Minister Theresa May (C) and French President Emmanuel Macron voiced support for 2015 Iran nuclear deal, in their speeches.(AFP)

Two-state solution to Israeli-Palestinian conflict

President Trump endorsed a two-state solution to the Israeli-Palestinian conflict. He said that while he's with Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu "100 percent," Israel will have to do something that is good for the other side.

While meeting with Netanyahu on the sidelines of the UN General Assembly on Wednesday, Trump said "deals have to be good for both parties," but that he thinks the Palestinians "actually want to do something."

However, a senior Palestinian official rejected Trump's comments in support of a two-state solution, saying his White House's policies were destroying hopes of peace.

"Their words go against their actions, and their action is absolutely clear [and] is destroying the possibility of the two-state solution," Husam Zomlot, head of the recently closed Palestinian mission in Washington, told AFP news agency.

He added that Trump's comments alone were not enough to bring the Palestinians back to the negotiating table.

'Very good news' on North Korea

Trump heaped praise on North Korean leader Kim Jong-un at the United Nations but called for strict enforcement of sanctions for now.

Trump said expect "very good news" in the coming months and years from North Korea after his landmark summit with the young strongman in Singapore in June.

"Kim Jong-un, a man I have gotten to know and like, wants peace and prosperity for North Korea," Trump said.

"Many things are happening behind the scenes away from the media which nobody knows, but they are happening nevertheless and they are happening in a very positive way."

But Trump also called for the enforcement of sanctions, which the United States has spent years building through the Security Council in response to North Korea's nuclear and missile tests.

Open to meeting Maduro 

Before the UNSC meeting, Trump told reporters he was open to meeting Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro if it would help the people of Venezuela, but warned that "all options were still on the table" to deal with the crisis.

"I would certainly be open to it, I'm willing to meet with anybody," Trump said on Wednesday as he arrived at United Nations headquarters. 

"We're going to take care of Venezuela, if he's here and he wants to meet, it was not on my mind, it was not on my plate, but if I can help people that's what I'm here for."