UPDATED 11:13 AM PT – Thursday, April 15, 2021
U.S. Intelligence officials warned that China is looking to “change global norms” while expanding its technological capabilities and military power.
A new global risk assessment was released by the National Intelligence Office Tuesday, stating the Chinese regime was close to becoming a “near-peer competitor” for the U.S.
Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines reiterated those claims to the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday, also adding that China poses an increasing risk to America’s role in global affairs.
The 27 page report addressed China’s ongoing regional disputes with Taiwan and the India-China border. It also noted that China is likely responsible for the hack of the Microsoft Exchange email system, which targeted thousands of U.S. organizations.
“China is employing a comprehensive approach to demonstrate its growing strength and compel regional neighbors to acquiesce to Beijing’s preferences, including its claims over disputed territory and assertions of sovereignty over Taiwan,” Haines explained. “It also has substantial cyber capabilities that, if deployed, at a minimum can cause localized, temporary disruptions to critical infrastructure inside the United States.”
In addition to advancing their regional power, the report stated China will do everything possible to damage ties between the U.S. and their allies. The country also continues to spread propaganda about its communist politics and is looking for new ways to interfere with democratic elections.
China’s controversial report about the origins of the coronavirus was another warning sign for intelligence officials who said they are still unsure about where the virus came from. The U.S. and 13 other countries have since shared concerns about the report with many claiming it was long overdue and lacked access to complete data or samples.
Officials said the U.S. will have to focus on creating long-term solutions to growing threats not just from China, but other countries like Russia and Iran.
“This insight compels us to broaden our definition of national security, develop and integrate new and emerging expertise into our work, deepen and strengthen our partnerships, and learn to focus on the long-term strategic threats while simultaneously addressing urgent crises,” Haines stated.
Meanwhile, officials said there are thousands of ongoing investigations into China as the threat to the U.S. continues to change.