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Chinese advancements in disruptive technologies threaten US technology superiority, says DIA chief

China’s high focus on and investment in emerging and disruptive technology research and acquisition will “very likely” present the “greatest threat to US technology superiority”, US Army Lieutenant General Scott Berrier, the director of the US Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA), said on 29 April.

In a written statement to the United States Senate Committee on Armed Services, the DIA chief indicated that China has already reached the level of “peer or near-peer” competitor to the United States in many research areas and aspires to be the world leader in these technologies by 2030–35.

China is “highly advanced” in quantum key distribution, and ranks among world leaders in the fields of artificial intelligence (AI), advanced robotics, high-performance computing, quantum information sciences, and biotechnology, said the lieutenant general, adding that Beijing plans to advance these technologies to sustain economic growth and “develop military capabilities that outpace those of the United States”.

“Beijing’s long-term strategy of rapid, indigenous … development of cutting-edge technology, combined with licit and illicit foreign technology acquisition, very likely has positioned China at the forefront of numerous scientific fields,” noted the DIA chief. Beijing’s military-civil fusion strategy, which emphasises the open sharing of resources and transfer of technology between civilian and defence industries, “intentionally blurs the distinction” between supply chains, he added.

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