[EXTERNAL] VPOTUS In Town Pool Report #1

From: Debra Saunders <dsaunders@reviewjournal.com [dsaunders@reviewjournal.com]>
Date: October 4, 2018 at 9:55:01 AM ED
Subject: [EXTERNAL] VPOTUS In Town Pool Report #1

Good morning from your pooler

I am here at the Hudson Institute where Vice President Mike Pence will speak on
Chinese attempts to interfere with the midterm elections at 11 a.m.

If you care to watch the speech on line, you can go here. It should be up around

>https://www.hudson.org/events/1610-vice-president-mike-pence-to-deliver-remarks102018< [>https://www.hudson.org/events/1610-vice-president-mike-pence-to-deliver-remarks102018<] It is my understanding that you will be able to watch the speech at this link later in the delay. Below are remarks released earlier that are embargoed until delivery, but also already reported. Beijing is also trying to project its power farther than ever before. Chinese ships routinely patrol around the Senkaku Islands, which are administered by Japan. And while China’s leader stood in the Rose Garden of the White House in 2015 and said that his country had “no intention to militarize the South China Sea,” today, Beijing has deployed advanced anti-ship and anti-air missiles atop an archipelago of military bases constructed on artificial islands. China’s aggression was on display this week, when a Chinese naval vessel came within 45 yards of the USS Decatur as it conducted freedom-of-navigation operations in the South China Sea, forcing our ship to quickly maneuver to avoid collision. Despite such reckless harassment, the United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever international law allows and our national interests demand. We will not be intimidated; we will not stand down. … China uses so-called “debt diplomacy” to expand its influence. Today, that country is offering hundreds of billions of dollars in infrastructure loans to governments from Asia to Africa to Europe to even Latin America. Yet the terms of those loans are opaque at best, and the benefits flow overwhelmingly to Beijing. Just ask Sri Lanka, which took on massive debt to let Chinese state companies build a port with questionable commercial value. Two years ago, that country could no longer afford its payments – so Beijing pressured Sri Lanka to deliver the new port directly into Chinese hands. It may soon become a forward military base for China’s growing blue-water navy. Within our own hemisphere, Beijing has extended a lifeline to the corrupt and incompetent Maduro regime in Venezuela, pledging $5 billion in loans that can be repaid with oil. Beijing is also corrupting some nations’ politics by providing direct support to parties and candidates who promise to accommodate China’s strategic objectives… And since last year, the Chinese Communist Party has convinced 3 Latin American nations to sever ties with Taipei and recognize Beijing. These actions threaten the stability of the Taiwan Strait – and the United States of America condemns them. And while our administration will continue to respect our One China Policy, as reflected in the three joint communiques and the Taiwan Relations Act, let me also say that Taiwan’s embrace of democracy shows a better path for all the Chinese people. … I want to tell you today what we know about China’s actions – some of which we’ve gleaned from intelligence assessments, some of which is publicly available. But all of which is fact. As I said before, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach to advance its influence and benefit its interests. It’s employing this power in more proactive and coercive ways to interfere in the domestic policies and politics of the United States. Today, the Chinese Communist Party is rewarding or coercing American businesses, movie studios, universities, think tanks, scholars, journalists, and local, state, and federal officials. Worst of all, China has initiated an unprecedented effort to influence American public opinion, the 2018 elections, and the environment leading into the 2020 presidential elections… To put it bluntly, President Trump’s leadership is working; China wants a different American President. China is meddling in America’s democracy. As President Trump said just last week, we have “found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 [midterm] election[s].” Our intelligence community says that “China is targeting U.S. state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy. It’s using wedge issues, like trade tariffs, to advance Beijing’s political influence.” In June, Beijing circulated a sensitive document, entitled “Propaganda and Censorship Notice,” that laid out its strategy. It states that China must “strike accurately and carefully, splitting apart different domestic groups” in the United States. To that end, Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans’ perception of Chinese policies. As a senior career member of our intelligence community recently told me, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what the China is doing across this country. Senior Chinese officials have also tried to influence business leaders to condemn our trade actions, leveraging their desire to maintain their operations in China. In one recent example, they threatened to deny a business license for a major U.S. corporation if it refused to speak out against our administration’s policies. And when it comes to influencing the midterms, you need only look at Beijing’s tariffs in response to ours. They specifically targeted industries and states that would play an important role in the 2018 election. By one estimate, more than 80% of U.S. counties targeted by China voted for President Trump in 2016; now China wants to turn these voters against our administration. Fortunately, Americans aren’t buying it. For example: American farmers are standing with this President and are seeing real results from the strong stands that he’s taken, including this week’s U.S.-Mexico-Canada Agreement, where we’ve substantially opened North American markets to U.S. products – a great win for American farmers and manufacturers. And China is also directly appealing to the American voter. Last week, the Chinese government paid to have a multipage supplement inserted into the Des Moines Register – the paper of record in the home state of our Ambassador to China, and a pivotal state in 2018. The supplement, designed to look like news articles, cast our trade policies as reckless and harmful to Iowans. But when our Ambassador tried to place his own op-ed in Chinese newspapers, describing the truth about our policies, no Chinese outlet would publish it. Expect a pool report with color and additional quotes if any. And remember to check quotes with video or transcript, please. Debra J. SaundersWhite House correspondentLas Vegas Review-Journal529 14th Street NW Suite 994Washington, D.C. 20045(202)662-7391(510)332-5870 Sent from my iPad