According to CIA Director William Burns, the Chinese government is becoming “increasingly adversarial,” and is “the most important geopolitical threat” to Americans in this century. In response, the CIA is developing a China Mission Center.
This comes as China continues to send military jets over Taiwan, a country that the United States has long considered a friend and an “unofficial” ally. China has made no secret of its desire to overtake Taiwan, stating that the country has always been a part of China. Taiwan has long looked to the United States for assistance; however, this is only one area in which the United States is concerned with as far as Chinese activity goes.
China has also been running “invasion drills,” in which the Chinese military carry out beach landing drills – some of them are extremely close to Taiwan.
According to the CIA, China could pose a (United States) national security threat. Burns described China as an adversarial government, not only to other countries, but to Americans as well. He looks for the new China Mission Center to unify all the work the CIA is currently doing in regard to China with a “whole Agency” approach.
Burns made his announcement just days after President Biden referred to China as America’s “only competitor” who could possibly disrupt the entire international system of economics and international relations.
However, Biden has only spoken with Chinese President Xi Jinping twice since taking office in January. Shortly after Biden took office, many of the economic sanctions former President Trump had placed on the People’s Republic of China were lifted by the Biden Administration. With the removal of these sanctions, it only appears that China has been emboldened in its efforts to become the world’s superpower.
Just last month, the Hauwei executive with whom the United States had placed under house arrest in Canada with espionage charges was released. Two Canadians who had been detained in China were also released at the same time.
In March, the Biden Administration had released a new guidance on national security stating that China “ha(d) rapidly become more assertive” in challenging the United States and other Western countries. In fact, the guidance inferred that China could use military, economic, diplomatic, and technological power to challenge the current international system.
This guidance also stated that China’s leaders would eventually “seek unfair advantages, behave aggressively and coercively, and undermine the rules and values at the heart” of the current international system.
The guidance only briefly mentioned threats from other foreign competitors, such as Russia, Iran, and North Korea. Ironically, Russian aggression has been stagnant until recently, and North Korea’s President Kim Jung Un also took a step back from his previously erratic behavior.
One way in which the CIA intends to combat Chinese aggression is by utilizing a chief technology officer. This is a new position created with Burns’ China Mission Center. The duties of the chief technology officer include technology around climate change and global health in addition to economic issues.
In what seemed like a footnote in regards to his previous remarks, CIA Director Burns also added that he planned to make it somewhat easier for individuals to become members of the Central Intelligence Agency. The CIA plans to “significantly” reduce the amount of time it takes for one to become an agent. He also added that the agency was introducing a CIA Technology Fellows program in which individual experts would work for the CIA for “one to two years of public service.”