ASPEN, Colorado. – China is conducting a “quiet kind of cold war” against the United States, by all means try to replace America as the leading power in the world, a top CIA expert on east Asia said Friday.
Beijing does not 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 much talked about activities that are deployed by Russia.
“I would say … that’s what they run against us is in essence a cold war the cold war did not as we saw during THE Cold War between the united states and the Soviet Union), but a cold war by definition,” Michael Collins, acting deputy director of the CIA’s East Asia mission center, told the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
Rising US-China tension goes further than the trade dispute will play out in a rate tit-for-tat between the two nations.
There is concern about China’s pervasive efforts to steal company secrets and details about the high-tech research is being carried out in the USA. the Chinese army is growing larger and modernized, and the USA, as well as in other countries, have complained about China’s construction of military fortifications on the islands in the South china Sea.
“I would say that it is the Crimea from the East,” Collins said, referring to Russia’s ill-advised annexation of Ukraine, the Crimean Peninsula, which was condemned in the West.
Collins’ comments track warnings about China’s growing influence published 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 the nuclear confrontation with North Korea.
On Wednesday, FBI Director Christopher Wray said that China, from a counter-perspective, is the broadest and most significant threat America faces. He said that the FBI has an economic espionage investigation in all 50 states that can be traced back to China.
“The volume of the. The ubiquity of it. The meaning of it is something that I think that this country should not be underestimated,” Wray said.
National Intelligence Director Than Layers also warned of rising Chinese aggression. In particular, he said, the U.S. must stand strong against China’s attempt to steal trade secrets and scientific research.
Susan Thornton, deputy assistant secretary of state for East Asian and Pacific affairs, said the increase of public awareness about the activities of the hundreds of thousands of Chinese students or groups on the AMERICAN universities may be one way to help mitigate potential damage.
“China is not just a footnote to what we have to do with Russia,” Thornton said.
Marcel Lettre, former assistant secretary of defense for intelligence, said China is the second largest defence budget in the world, the largest standing army of the army, the third largest in the air force and a fleet of 300 ships and more than 60 submarines.
“All of this is in the process of being modernized and improved,” said Lettre, who sat on a panel with Collins and Thornton.
He said that China also is pursuing developments in cyber, artificial intelligence, engineering and technology, counter-space, anti-satellite capabilities and hypersonic glide weapons. Army, Lt. Gen. of Robert Ashley, head of the Defense Intelligence Agency, told a congressional committee earlier this year that China is the development of a long-range cruise missiles — some of which can reach supersonic speeds.
“The Pentagon has noted that the Chinese have been a test program, that has 20 times more tests than the U.S.,” Lettre said.
Franklin Miller, former senior director for defense policy and arms control at the National Security Council, said China’s weapons developments underline the need for a dialogue with Beijing.
“We have to try to go,” Miller said. “My expectations for successful engagement are low, but that does not mean that we should not try.”