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China's ‘push for global power' poses greatest security threat to US, says US intelligence community

The US intelligence community has put what it described as China’s ‘push for global power’ at the top of its latest annual report on worldwide threats to the national security of the United States.

Released on 13 April by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), the 2021 Annual Threat Assessment states that Beijing will continue its “whole-of-government efforts to spread China’s influence, undercut that of the United States, drive wedges between Washington and its allies and partners, and foster new international norms that favour the authoritarian Chinese system”.

“Beijing is increasingly combining its growing military power with its economic, technological, and diplomatic clout to preserve the CCP [Chinese Communist Party], secure what it views as its territory and regional pre-eminence, and pursue international co-operation at Washington’s expense,” said the report.

“China, increasingly, is a near-peer competitor, challenging the United States in multiple arenas – especially economically, militarily, and technologically – and is pushing to change global norms,” stated the ODNI, noting that the East Asian country will seek to use co-ordinated, whole-of-government tools to demonstrate its growing strength and compel regional neighbours to acquiesce to Beijing’s preferences, including its claims over disputed territory and assertions of sovereignty over Taiwan.

For instance, the ODNI said it expects Sino-Indian border tensions to remain high, despite some troop pullbacks this year, while in the South China Sea, Beijing “will continue to intimidate rival claimants and will use growing numbers of air, naval, and maritime law enforcement platforms to signal to Southeast Asian countries that China has effective control over contested areas”.

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