The CIA is setting up a new centre to focus exclusively on China. American media writes that the American intelligence service will gather intelligence about the Communist People’s Republic and direct efforts to counter Chinese espionage.
According to The Washington Post newspaper, the establishment of the ‘China Mission Center’ can be seen as a sign that the United States is preparing for a large-scale and years-long struggle with China. CIA chief William J. Burns called the growing rivalry with Beijing “the greatest geopolitical challenge of the 21st century” in a statement.
An insider tells the paper that the CIA will deploy more agents, linguists and technicians worldwide to gather intelligence and undermine Chinese interests. The source compares that to how the intelligence service handled the communist Soviet Union during the Cold War. The CIA is now also going to train more people to speak Mandarin.
Previously, the service was much more emphatically focused on the fight against terrorist organizations, but that changed under Burns’ predecessor. Instead, more attention is now being paid to countries seen as rivals, such as Russia, North Korea and Iran.
Former CIA director John Brennan responds positively to establishing a special China centre in The Washington Post. “If there is one country that deserves its own mission centre, it is China,” he concludes. “That has global ambitions and poses the greatest danger to American interests and the international order.”