“We have no intention of intervening in the domestic affairs of the United States. Our position is consistent and clear.”
Trump said last week that Ukraine and China should investigate former vice-president Biden and his son, Hunter, and that he [Trump] had “tremendous power” and a “lot of options” going into the China-U.S. trade talks.
“[Ukraine] should investigate the Bidens, because how does a company that’s newly formed, and all these companies if you look at – and, by the way, likewise China should start an investigation into the Bidens,” Trump said.
The Republican president, who is subject to an impeachment inquiry in Congress for asking Ukraine’s president to launch the investigation, claimed the Bidens were “corrupt” but did not provide evidence. Trump had described the impeachment inquiry as “bulls***”.
Trump’s call for China to investigate the Bidens came ahead of trade negotiations between the two nations on Thursday and Friday. Chinese Vice-Premier Liu He will lead a delegation with officials from the commerce ministry, central bank, information technology ministry and agricultural ministry for the talks with U.S. Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer and Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin.
The latest round of talks precedes the U.S.’ imposition of additional tariffs on Chinese products next Tuesday. The Chinese side will seek to determine if the U.S. will postpone the tariffs again.
“The nature of China-US economic and trade relation is mutually beneficial,” Geng said. “It is normal that disputes exist. But we have to stick to the basis of mutual respect, equal and mutual benefit in the process of resolving the dispute. I am afraid it is not a correct attitude if someone always wants to maintain an upper hand.”
Diplomatic observers said the impeachment inquiry would overshadow the trade talks, but Beijing would be unmoved by Trump’s request to investigate the Bidens. In addition to maintaining the non-interference principle, a Chinese investigation into the Bidens would be likely to offend both Democrats and Republicans, further intensifying concerns that China is interfering in U.S. presidential election.
Taoran Notes, the social media account affiliated with state-run Economic Daily, warned that remarks about China meddling in U.S. politics would complicate the trade talks.
“Such acts are nothing but political blackmail,” the commentary said. “They know China’s long-held stance of not interfering in other nations’ affairs, so [some people in the U.S.] unscrupulously manipulated related issues, adding further complications to the negotiations.”
Some Republicans have criticized Biden for taking his son on the Air Force Two vice presidential jet in 2013 to China, a trip that took place months after the junior Biden became an unpaid board member of an investment fund with a Chinese private equity manager.
Hunter Biden has repeatedly denied any wrongdoing. He was also on the board of a Ukrainian gas company at a time when the U.S. and Europe were trying to woo Ukraine away from neighbor Russia.
Additional reporting by Reuters