By Choekyi Lhamo
DHARAMSHALA, Apr. 15: China’s expansionist effort represents one of the largest threats to the United States, an annual intelligence report released on Tuesday stated. The major report does not predict a military confrontation with Russia or China, but suggests that the gray-zone battles for power among the countries will intensify with intelligence operations and cyber attacks.
The assessment also highlighted China’s push for “global power” first on the line of threats, followed by Russia, Iran and North Korea. The report is a result of declassified assessment of intelligence reports on China’s strategy to become one of the global powers. “Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Pyongyang have demonstrated the capability and intent to advance their interests at the expense of the United States and its allies, despite the pandemic,” the report said. “China increasingly is a near-peer competitor, challenging the United States in multiple arenas — especially economically, militarily and technologically — and is pushing to change global norms.”
The report also concludes that Beijing used the “success in combating the coronavirus” to promote the “superiority of its system.” It further predicts more tensions in the South China Sea as Beijing continues to intimidate rivals in the region, along with China’s pledge to move forward with the forceful unification of Taiwan.
The intelligence report also foresees China’s doubling its nuclear stockpile over the next decade, “Beijing is not interested in arms-control agreements that restrict its modernization plans and will not agree to substantive negotiations that lock in U.S. or Russian nuclear advantage.” It warned the US of China’s electronic surveillance and hacking abilities used not only to repress dissent domestically but also to conduct such intrusions affecting people beyond its borders.
The intelligence agencies were advised to focus on threat assessments on Russia and China by examining both the major countries’ record of intrusion against the US. “China’s a rising power and a rising challenge,” said the Democrat Adam Schiff, who published a report last year calling for more resources devoted to China. “Russia is a dying power. It poses the threat of a kind of wounded animal that is dangerous because it’s wounded and backed into a corner,” he further remarked.
The report adds that the economic and political implications of the pandemic would reverberate for years, emphasizing that the economic damage would worsen instability in a few countries.
The director of the national intelligence, Avril D. Haines, CIA director William J. Burns and other top intelligence officials will testify before the Congress about the report on Wednesday and Thursday. “The American people should know as much as possible about the threats facing our nation and what their intelligence agencies are doing to protect them,” said Avril Haines, whose office released the report on Tuesday.