The latest incident in the South China Sea comes amid heightened tensions between Washington and Beijing, and the situation could soon worsen, as the U.S. military is reportedly considering a proposal for a major show of force as a warning to the Chinese, which perceive American actions moves to contain Chinese power.
No administration official has offered evidence that China is seeking or has sought to weaponize hacked, politically sensitive information, as Russian Federation did during the 2016 presidential election.
Mr Pence said: "As a senior career member of our intelligence community recently told me, what the Russians are doing pales in comparison to what China is doing across this country". As proof, Trump later referenced a paid advertising insert in The Des Moines Register by Chinese government-affiliated entities.
Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said the United States charges were "nothing but speaking on hearsay evidence, confusing right and wrong and creating something out of thin air".
Bloomberg Businessweek cited 17 unnamed intelligence and company sources as saying that Chinese spies had placed computer chips inside equipment used by about 30 companies, as well as multiple USA government agencies, which would give Beijing secret access to internal networks.
"Regrettably, we found that China has been attempting to interfere in our upcoming 2018 election", Trump said.
"To that end, Beijing has mobilized covert actors, front groups, and propaganda outlets to shift Americans' perception of Chinese policies", Pence said.
Pence also accused China of "reckless harassment" because of an incident on Sunday in which a US destroyer, the Decatur, traveled within 12 nautical miles of Gaven and Johnson Reefs in the Spratly Islands in the disputed South China Sea.
Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi responded to Trump's comments at the meeting, saying that China follows a principle of non-interference in other countries domestic affairs.
"Much of what we know remains classified", Bolton said.
"The more open tone of confrontation from Pence will strengthen the perception in China that the ultimate USA objective in the [trade] dispute is to contain China's rise", the group's analysts led by Asia director, Michael Hirson, wrote.
The vice president cited USA intelligence agencies but offered no evidence to back up his claims, which are likely to inflame relations between Washington and Beijing, already at their lowest point in years thanks to the burgeoning trade war, policy differences and United States allegations of political interference.
He said: "The United States Navy will continue to fly, sail and operate wherever worldwide law allows and our national interests demand". The vice president, a favorite of conservative US Christians, also criticized China on human rights, voicing disappointment that rising prosperity has not led to reforms. China "has taken a sharp U-turn toward control and oppression", Pence said, adding: "A new wave of persecution is crashing down on Chinese Christians, Buddhists and Muslims".