- BBC News World
The heads of the intelligence services of the United Kingdom and the United States have warned of the threat posed by China, in an unprecedented joint intervention.
FBI Director Christopher Wray called China “the greatest long-term threat to our economic and national security” and assured that has interfered in politics of the North American country, including the recent elections.
His MI5 counterpart, Ken McCallum, explained that the British agency has more than doubled its workload against Chinese activity in the last three years, and will double it again.
Compared to 2018, MI5 is now conducting seven times more investigations into the activities of the Chinese Communist Party, it added.
The director of the FBI, for his part, considered that if china took taiwan by force “It would be one of the most horrific business interruptions the world has ever seen.”
The first joint public appearance of the two directors took place at the MI5 headquarters in London’s Thames House building.
espionage and rtech obo
McCallum indicated that the challenge posed by the Chinese Communist Party is “of a higher level”, while Wray described it as “huge” and “impressive”.
The latter warned the audience, which included company CEOs and university officials, that the Chinese government is “ready to steal their technology” using a variety of tools.
He said that Beijing represents “an even more serious threat to Western business than even many sophisticated businessmen have realized.”
He cited cases in which people linked to Chinese companies they had been digging up seeds genetically modified plants in rural America that cost nearly a decade and billions of dollars to develop.
He also warned that China has deployed cyber espionage to “cheat and steal on a large scale” with a hacking program larger than those of all other major countries combined.
The head of MI5 revealed that intelligence on cyber threats has been shared with 37 countries and that a sophisticated threat against the aerospace industry was intercepted in May.
McCallum also listed a number of examples linked to China.
These included that of a British aviation expert who was contacted online and offered an attractive employment opportunity.
He traveled to China twice for “food and drinks” before a company, which was actually a front for Chinese intelligence authorities, asked him for technical information on military aircraft.
“That’s where we stepped in,” McCallum said.
He also claimed that a Chinese company made contact with an engineering company, Smith’s Harlow, from which it took its technology and later canceled the agreement.
And he mentioned Parliament’s interference alert issued in January over the activities of Christine Lee, a Sino-British lawyer who was accused of trying to improperly influence UK MPs on behalf of the Chinese Communist Party.
He warned that these types of operations aim to amplify the voices of the Chinese Communist Party and silence those who question their authority.
“This needs to be tackled,” the MI5 chief said.
In the US, the director of the FBI accused the Chinese government of directly interfering this spring in a congressional election in New York, because he did not want a candidate critical of his system and a former Tiananmen Square protester to be elected.
They did so, he explained, by hiring a private investigator to uncover sensitive information.
Unable to find anything, he said, they tried to fabricate a case involving a sex worker and even suggested cause a car accident.
Furthermore, according to Wray, China is learning “all kinds of lessons” from the conflict in Ukraine.
This includes trying to evade in the future any sanctions similar to those imposed on Russia.
If China were to invade Taiwan, the economic disruption would be far greater than this year, he said, with Western investments in China held “hostage” and interrupted supply chains.
“I have no reason to think that their interest in Taiwan has diminished in any way,” the FBI director told reporters after his speech.
“China has counted for too long on being the second priority of the whole world but they are no longer flying under the radar,” he concluded.
The Chinese position
Although there is still no response from Beijing to the FBI and MI5 conference, these statements come amid a deterioration in relations between China and the West that the Russian invasion of Ukraine has only increased.
China has declared that the United States wants to de facto install NATO, or a branch of the military alliance, on its doorstep.
“NATO has ruined Europe. Is he now trying to screw up the Asia-Pacific and even the world?” the Chinese foreign ministry protested in late April.
A month earlier, Foreign Minister Wang Yi said: “The real goal of the US strategy in the Indo-Pacific is to create a branch of NATO in the region.”
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