CIA:China Waging 'Quiet Cold War' on US07/21 09:24
China is waging a "quiet kind of cold war" against the United States, using
all its resources to try to replace America as the leading power in the world,
a top CIA expert on Asia said Friday.
ASPEN, Colo. (AP) -- China is waging a "quiet kind of cold war" against the
United States, using all its resources to try to replace America as the leading
power in the world, a top CIA expert on Asia said Friday.
Beijing doesn't want to go to war, he said, but the current communist
government, under President Xi Jingping, is subtly working on multiple fronts
to undermine the U.S. in ways that are different than the more well-publicized
activities being employed by Russia.
"I would argue ... that what they're waging against us is fundamentally a
cold war --- a cold war not like we saw during THE Cold War (between the U.S.
and the Soviet Union) but a cold war by definition," Michael Collins, deputy
assistant director of the CIA's East Asia mission center, said at the Aspen
Security Forum in Colorado.
Rising U.S.-China tension goes beyond the trade dispute playing out in a
tariff tit-for-tat between the two nations.
There is concern over China's pervasive efforts to steal business secrets
and details about high-tech research being conducted in the U.S. The Chinese
military is expanding and being modernized and the U.S., as well as other
nations, have complained about China's construction of military outposts on
islands in the South China Sea.
"I would argue that it's the Crimea of the East," Collins said, referring to
Russia's brash annexation of Ukraine's Crimean Peninsula, which was condemned
throughout the West.
Collins' comments track warnings about China's rising influence issued by
others who spoke earlier this week at the security conference. The alarm bells
come at a time when Washington needs China's help in ending its nuclear
standoff with North Korea.
On Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said China, from a
counterintelligence perspective, represents the broadest and most significant
threat America faces. He said the FBI has economic espionage investigations in
all 50 states that can be traced back to China.
"The volume of it. The pervasiveness of it. The significance of it is
something that I think this country cannot underestimate," Wray said.
National Intelligence Director Dan Coats also warned of rising Chinese
aggression. In particular, he said, the U.S. must stand strong against China's
effort to steal business secrets and academic research.
Susan Thornton, acting assistant secretary of state for East Asian and
Pacific affairs, said increasing the public's awareness about the activities of
the hundreds of thousands of Chinese students or groups at U.S. universities
could be one way to help mitigate potential damage.
"China is not just a footnote to what we're dealing with with Russia,"
Marcel Lettre, former undersecretary of defense for intelligence, said China
has the second-largest defense budget in the world, the largest standing army
of ground forces, the third-largest air force and a navy of 300 ships and more
than 60 submarines.
"All of this is in the process of being modernized and upgraded," said
Lettre, who sat on a panel with Collins and Thornton.
He said China also is pursuing advances in cyber, artificial intelligence,
engineering and technology, counter-space, anti-satellite capabilities and
hypersonic glide weapons. Army Lt. Gen. Robert Ashley, head of the Defense
Intelligence Agency, told a congressional committee earlier this year that
China is developing long-range cruise missiles --- some capable of reaching
"The Pentagon has noted that the Chinese have already pursued a test program
that has had 20 times more tests than the U.S. has," Lettre said.
Franklin Miller, former senior director for defense policy and arms control
at the National Security Council, said China's weapons developments are
emphasizing the need to have a dialogue with Beijing.
"We need to try to engage," Miller said. "My expectations for successful
engagement are medium-low, but that doesn't mean we shouldn't try."