Chinese leader Xi Jinping told US President Joe Biden that China would not interfere in the 2024 US presidential election when the two men met in November — an assurance reiterated by the Chinese foreign minister to Biden’s national security adviser this past weekend, two people familiar with the conversations told CNN.
The previously unreported exchange between Xi and Biden took place during a high-stakes, hourslong meeting in California that was aimed at easing historically high military and economic tensions between the two superpowers.
It was Biden who raised the issue, according to one of the sources, who described the exchange as brief. In a meeting this past weekend in Bangkok with Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, US national security adviser Jake Sullivan again brought up the topic. Wang offered Sullivan the same assurance Xi had given Biden months prior — that Beijing would not meddle in the American election this fall, the source said.
The potential for China to interfere in or influence US elections has repeatedly come up at senior-level meetings between the two nations in recent months, the source who was briefed on the matter said.
Those discussions signal just how fraught US-China relations have become, and how wary American officials still are of foreign election meddling after 2016, when Russian intelligence agencies hacked the Democratic National Committee and released emails to damage Hillary Clinton’s presidential campaign.
Since then, Iranian, Cuban and Chinese agents have all been active in trying to influence US elections, according to public US intelligence reports. Though none of those efforts have been as aggressive as the 2016 Russian operation.
Even if China refrains from interfering in the 2024 election, Beijing’s hackers are still a potent force, with a foothold in key US infrastructure. For several months, US national security officials have publicly warned that Chinese cyber operatives have burrowed into computer networks in the maritime and transportation sectors — access that Beijing might use to disrupt any US military response to a Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Source: CNN