Washington: US President Donald Trump has escalated his tirade against China and accused it of trying to influence US mid-term elections by attacking American farmers, ranchers and industrial workers, a charge denied by Beijing.
Trump did not offer evidence to support his accusation nor did he specify whether it was the upcoming mid-term elections in November China was allegedly targeting.
"China has openly stated that they are actively trying to impact and change our election by attacking our farmers, ranchers and industrial workers because of their loyalty to me," the President tweeted.
He followed up with a threat of additional tariffs, adding: “There will be great and fast economic retaliation against China if our farmers, ranchers and/or industrial workers are targeted!”
The accusation comes one day after China promised to take "countermeasures" against Trump's plan to impose tariffs on an additional USD 200 billion worth Chinese imports.
The new duties, which take effect on September 24, will begin at 10 per cent, then rise to 25 per cent on January 1, 2019.
China responded to the latest announcement by hiking tariffs on USD 60 billion worth of US imports. The more than 5,000 products affected include coffee, honey, and industrial chemicals, according to reports.
Reacting to Trump's accusation of election interference, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang said, "Anyone who has some knowledge of China's diplomacy will know that we will not interfere in other countries' domestic affairs."
"We don't want others to interfere in our domestic politics, and we will not interfere in the domestic politics of others," Geng said.