ASPEN • While the Trump government is trying to intensify relations with North Korea and Russia, America's relations with China have declined so sharply that an expert from the Central Intelligence Agency has disposed of an old term: "Cold War"  Michael Collins, the top China intelligence expert, told a group of Aspen Security Forum that growing competition for global and economic influence among nations amid the growing power of Chinese leader Xi Jinping earned the term. Xi has led China's Communist Party this year to shorten its term of office and make him president of life while building Chinese economic influence and military power.
"What they are doing against us is basically a Cold War," he said] Much of the security forum, which started on Thursday night and runs until Saturday, focused on President Donald Trump's overtures to Russia and North Korea and the question whether Russian President Vladimir Putin wants to intervene in American politics after American accusations, regime with interference in the 201
But China's rise remains the top issue that keeps intelligence analysts and diplomats awake at night. With a global trade empire, the planet's largest military power, and a new blue-water navy with a pair of aircraft carriers, China has become a superpower and major competitor in the last two decades, from a third wheel in the Cold War to US prestige and influence Annual Forum sponsored by the Aspen Institute
"At the end of the day, the Chinese are trying to replace the United States as the world's leading power," Collins said.
Susan Thornton, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs for East Asia and the Pacific, is also watching China with a watchful eye, pointing out that she is also able to intervene in regional policy in a manner similar to the Russian campaigns in Europe ,
"China is not just a footnote to what we have to do in Russia," she said.
Important economic campaigns make the Chinese dragon as daunting as the Russian bear once did. China's "Belt and Road" initiative aims to connect it with the markets in Asia, Europe and Africa through rail and road infrastructure and strengthen its maritime presence. China is also building its Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank, which will be used for international development projects and will become a World Bank competitor to Beijing.
Singapore's ambassador to the United States, Ashok Kumar Mirpuri, said China, with its central location on the planet's largest landmass, also has a real estate advantage in its quest for global dominance.
"We have to live with China," Mirpuri said, noting that America was "an ocean away."
USA Tensions with China have risen in recent months as President Trump has imposed a series of tariffs of over $ 200 billion on Chinese goods. On Friday morning, Trump accused China of manipulating the value of his currency to gain an unfair advantage in global trade.
"China, the European Union, and others are manipulating their currencies and interest rates lower as the US raises interest rates. Dollars are getting stronger and stronger with each passing day, taking away our big competitive advantage," Trump said on Twitter.
Collins, the CIA expert, worries whether the US has enough leverage to endanger Trump's trading dangers. While America is an important trading partner for China, it has solid trade relations around the world. "Trade with the United States is not so important in terms of economic well-being," he said.
With nearly 1.4 billion inhabitants and a growing middle class, Chinese companies already have easy access to a worldwide domestic market largest. He warned that China's Xi was unlikely to abandon Trump's deal that would affect the country's growing international status.
"I think they're probably scratching their heads, which could be the next step," he said.
And while China has teamed with the United States to avert a growing conflict with nuclear-armed North Korea, Chinese leaders are also concerned about internal concerns in this case. Thornton said that Xi wants to avoid a war on the Korean Peninsula, but also wants to see the influence of the US on important Asian allies such as South Korea and Japan.
In these two countries, America has a number of military bases and defense agreements aimed at preventing Chinese aggression. China is now working to combine the Pentagon's military strength with Air Force and Navy building programs, which are more concerned with the technological quality of weapons than the old Chinese standard, which relies on massive quantities of cheap low-tech weapons.
Marcel Lettre, who served as the Pentagon secret service chief under the Obama administration, said arming the Chinese forces was a massive piece of work.
"It is a useful reminder to understand that modernization is taking place on a large military base"
The Pentagon's latest defense strategy evokes growing Chinese capabilities and is a driving force behind President Donald Trump's drive to create his own " Space Force "to protect American satellites. Lettre said the changes are a necessary response to China's emerging military power.
But experts said China may not be the monolithic rival it seems to be.
Collins noted that Xi faces critics at home who quietly question him about the growing political status, which gives him a leader reminiscent of Mao Zedong.
"There are areas of criticism and concern for him for what he has done in leadership and questions about the direction he is taking."
Thornton described the Xi regime as a powerful but fragile regime that makes it vulnerable to internal changes in the Chinese population.
"I think the Chinese government and the Communist Party have a legitimacy problem," said Thornton. States need to build stronger ties with their traditional allies and increase their global reach to keep pace with China's rise. But America, with its international economic reach, backed by an open society with democratic institutions and a long list of global friends, has an advantage, she said. The United States still has a greater ability to influence other countries through the incentive and attraction of its freedoms and opportunities.
"Our soft power is incredibly more powerful than Chinese soft power," she said.
Contact Tom Roeder: 636-0240