US intelligence director says China is top threat to America

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US intelligence director says China is top threat to America

Saturday, December 05, 2020

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WASHINGTON,DC, United States (AP) — Outgoing United States National Intelligence Director John Ratcliffe says China poses the greatest threat to America and the rest of the free world since World War II, as the Trump Administration ramps up anti-Chinese rhetoric to pressure President-elect Joe Biden to be tough on Beijing.

“The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically,” Ratcliffe wrote in an op-ed published Thursday in The Wall Street Journal.

“Many of China's major public initiatives and prominent companies offer only a layer of camouflage to the activities of the Chinese Communist Party.”

“I call its approach of economic espionage 'rob, replicate and replace',” Ratcliffe said.

“China robs US companies of their intellectual property, replicates the technology and then replaces the US firms in the global marketplace.”

In Beijing, foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying dismissed the editorial as a further move to spread “false information, political viruses and lies”, in hopes of damaging China's reputation and China-US relations.

“It offered nothing new but repeated the lies and rumours aimed at smearing China and playing up the China threat by any means,” Hua said at a daily briefing yesterday.

“It's another hodgepodge of lies being produced by the relevant departments of the US Government for some time.”

Trump Administration officials have been stepping up their anti-China rhetoric for months, especially during the presidential campaign as President Donald Trump sought to deflect blame for the spread of the novel coronavirus.

On the campaign trail, Trump warned that Biden would go easy on China, although the president-elect agrees that China is not abiding by international trade rules, is giving unfair subsidies to Chinese companies and stealing American innovation.

The Trump Administration, which once boasted of warm relations with Chinese President Xi Jinping, also has been ramping up sanctions against China over Taiwan, Tibet, trade, Hong Kong and the South China Sea.

It has moved against the Chinese telecoms giant Huawei and sought restrictions on Chinese social media applications like TikTok and WeChat.

Ratcliffe, a Trump loyalist who has been accused of politicising the position, has been the nation's top intelligence official since May. In his op-ed, he did not directly address the transition to a Biden Administration. Trump has not acknowledged losing the election.

Ratcliffe said he has shifted money within the US$85-billion annual intelligence budget to address the threat from China. Beijing is preparing for an open-ended confrontation with the US, which must be addressed, he said.

“This is our once-in-a-generation challenge. Americans have always risen to the moment, from defeating the scourge of fascism to bringing down the Iron Curtain,” Ratcliffe wrote, in what appeared to be a call for action to future intelligence officials.


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