China said Wednesday it has no desire to meddle in this year’s U.S. presidential election, despite claims to the contrary by President Donald Trump.
Trump told Reuters Wednesday that “China will do anything they can do to have me lose this race” in favor of Democratic Party opponent Joe Biden. Trump said China prefers a Biden win, believing he would ease the pressure Trump has put on Beijing through trade tariffs and other means.
“We have reiterated many times that the U.S. election is the U.S.’s own internal affair. China is not interested in interfering,” said China Foreign Ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. “At the same time, we hope the people of the U.S. will not drag China into its electoral politics.”
The Trump administration has blamed China for the coronavirus pandemic, which has thrown the U.S. into a deep recession and infected more than 1 million people in the U.S., more than any other country by far.
Trump said during the interview he was exploring various options to penalize Beijing over the pandemic, despite China’s insistence it effectively addressed the outbreak.
“The international community shares a common view on China’s handling of the epidemic and China’s contributions to international cooperation in the fight against the coronavirus,” Shuang said.
Relations between the world’s two largest economies were strained before the coronavirus outbreak. Trump began intensifying a trade dispute with Beijing two years ago that deteriorated into retaliatory tariffs and ballooned into a trillion-dollar trade war.
The pandemic-triggered U.S. economic slowdown has Trump’s campaign concerned about his reelection chances, given that it planned to make the previously robust economy a key selling point in Trump’s reelection bid.
Polls show Biden leading Trump in the race for the White House. Real Clear Politics’ polling average, which includes data from dozens of pollsters, has Biden leading Trump 48% to 42%.
A new Emerson College poll shows Trump’s approval rating for how he has managed the pandemic has dropped 10 points from last month. The results show 39% of the poll’s respondents now approve of his handling of the crisis, a decline from 49% in March.