A top CIA official for Asia said Friday that Beijing is waging a "cold war" against Washington and seeking "to replace the United States as the leading power in the world."
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum in the Annual Aspen, Colorado, CIA East Asia Mission Center Deputy Assistant Director Michael Collins' remarks at a public meeting on the rise of China were some of the strongest comments to date on Beijing's intentions not only in Asia, but also across the globe.
Collins said the Chinese leadership "has been aspiring, expanding its ambitions, its interests, its activities around the globe to compete with the United States, and at the end of day, to undermine our influence relative to their influence."
Collins Chinese President Xi Jinping has overseen this push to dethrone the United States by adopting a cold war-type approach.
"By their own terms and what Xi enunciates I would argue by definition what they're doing e waging against us was fundamentally a cold, a cold was not like we saw during the Cold War, but was a cold by definition. A country that exploits all sorts of power and illicit, public and private, economic and military, to undermine the standing of your rival relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict. The Chinese do not want conflict, "Collins said.
" At the end of the day they are looking for a country in the world, when it's declining its interests on policy issues, to first and foremost side with China and not the United States
Collins' comments echoed those of FBI Director Christopher Wray, who at the same forum on Wednesday said China "represents the United States and what it stands for
In its most recent National Defense Strategy report, unveiled early this year, the US cautioned about the return to an era of "great power" conflict with adversaries such as China and Russia.
That report said China is currently "leveraging military modernization, influence operations, and predatory economies to co-op neighboring countries to reorder the Indo-Europeans." Pacific region to its advantage, "but noted that it continues to work and push the US
Euan Graham, a security expert with Australia's Lowy Institute, said Collins 'remarks had stressed the two powers' increasing fraught relationship in a different light.
"A "East Asian analyst is no surprise," Graham said. "But casting Sino-U.S. China as a regional peer competitor. "
China's push for preeminence has been launched in the South China Sea, where it has built a series of military outposts.
The strategic waterway ̵
As part of what some experts say is A concerted bid to cement the de facto control of the South China Sea, three of Beijing's man-made islets have become military-grade airfields, where it has deployed anti-ship missiles and anti-missiles.
Washington has blasted Beijing for the island-building, fearing the outposts could be used to restrict movement in the waterway, with the US
Taiwan, meanwhile, thus remains a potential flash point, as Xi orders ramped-up military training and actions around the self-ruled island. Beijing has warned that it wants to defend, by force if necessary, its "One China" principle under which Taiwan is seized as part of China's own territory, awaiting reunification.
And in the East China Sea, Washington has stoked anger in Beijing Senkaku Islands, which are claimed by China, where they are known as the Diaoyu.
On the economic front, the US and China have thus been engaged in a tit-for-tat trade.
Collins said that by "Chinese propaganda and what is known as" Xi Jinping Thought "- a worldview recently enshrined in China's constitution – it is clear that the threat currently faces.
The Lowy Institute's Graham said Collins' remarks served as a reminder that despite the current preoccupation with Russian influence, top intelligence officials in the US
"China is a far more formidable adversary than Russia ever was, or will be," he said.
"Collins's comments are a reminder that the United States." (noun, feminine) Washington's approach not only to the military domain, but also to its increasingly confrontational zero-sum attitude on trade and technology, "Graham added.