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Vice President Mike Pence, in a speech Thursday, bluntly accused China of "meddling in America's democracy" to an extent that far surpasses Russian Federation, though he provided little detailed evidence to back up his claim. During a subsequent press conference, Mr. Trump told reporters, "We have evidence".

Mike Pence was "speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air", the Foreign Ministry said Friday, condemning the speech by the United States second in command at the Hudson Institute on Thursday.

It goes beyond the bitter trade war between the world's two biggest economies and includes disputes such as cyber activities, Taiwan and the South China Sea.

"As we speak, Beijing is employing a whole-of-government approach, using political, economic and military tools, as well as propaganda, to advance its influence and benefit its interests in the United States."

On a separate briefing call with reporters on Thursday about the administration's newly unveiled National Strategy for Counterterrorism, National Security Adviser John Bolton, responding to a question about China's actions, said he expected there would be "more on this subject in the weeks and months ahead".

Analysts with the Eurasia Group consultancy noted the allegations of Chinese meddling are largely unsubstantiated and could allow Trump to distract from the special counsel's investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 presidential election.

"Our intelligence community says that "China is targeting US state and local governments and officials to exploit any divisions between federal and local levels on policy", Pence said.

Google's modified search engine - codenamed "Dragonfly" - would "strengthen Communist Party censorship and compromise the privacy of Chinese customers", Pence said.

A Chinese Luyang-class destroyer sailed within 41 metres of the USS Decatur in the South China Sea on Sunday
China denounces 'ridiculous' United States claims of election meddling

After Trump's accusations directed at China last week, Wang Yi, China's Minister of Foreign Affairs, rejected the charge directly while in NY for the United Nation's General Assembly. The two countries have imposed increasingly severe rounds of tariffs on each other.

Pence said Chinese security agencies had masterminded the "wholesale theft of American technology", including military blueprints, and warned Washington would continue to take action.

"Much of what we know remains classified", Bolton said.

"We will not be intimidated", Pence said of the operation, the latest attempt to counter what Washington sees as Beijing's efforts to limit freedom of navigation in the strategic waters.

Pence also denounced China's manoeuvres in the South China Sea, its oppression of Christians, Muslims and other religious believers, and Chinese President Xi Jinping's signature infrastructure and foreign policy initiative.

"China's aggression was on display this week", he said, referring to a risky encounter between the People's Liberation Army Navy destroyer Lanzhou and the U.S. destroyer USS Decatur in the hotly-contested South China Sea Sunday.

China has said Xinjiang faces a serious threat from Islamist militants and separatists who plot attacks and stir up tensions.

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