by Mitch Kokai
Senior Political Analyst, John Locke Foundation
After decades of asserting China posed little threat, senior U.S. intelligence leaders on Tuesday warned Congress Beijing now represents the most significant challenge to American security as China prepares for ideological war against the U.S.-led democratic system.
“While we were sleeping in the last decade and a half, China had a remarkable rise in capabilities that are stunning,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told the Senate Select Committee on Intelligence.
Major Chinese advances were the result of large-scale theft of American technology and other intellectual property, and inserting Chinese agents in U.S. laboratories to steal know-how for China. The theft ranged from automobile manufacturing to sophisticated software to military-related research and development information, Coats said.
Coats, appearing with leaders from the CIA, FBI, National Security Agency, and Defense Intelligence Agency said China’s theft of U.S. technology is not limited to competing but to “gain superiority.”
Globally, China under President Xi Jinping is spreading its system in the developing world through an economic program called the Belt and Road Initiative.
“It’s a serious issue that has to be dealt with,” Coats said, adding that “rule of law, international norms, and fairness in trade and international engagements is not the Chinese model.”
Coats in his prepared statement warned that China is preparing for a “coming ideological battle” with the United States.