British spy chief suggests China risks ‘miscalculation’ on Taiwan | MI6
China risks “being overconfident” in Taiwan, MI6 chief Richard Moore said in a statement clearly intended to warn Beijing to desist from any attempt to take control of the island.
Delivering a rare speech, the British foreign intelligence chief told London that China risked âbelieving in its own propagandaâ and that the country had become âthe top priorityâ of MI6 for the first time in its history.
Moore did not explicitly mention Taiwan, but the country’s status, whose independence is not recognized by Beijing, remains the most acute problem of tensions between China and the West.
Moore, at the event organized by the International Institute for Strategic Studies, said, âThe leadership of the Communist Party of China increasingly favors bold and decisive action for reasons of national security. Gone are the days when Deng Xiaoping ‘hide your strength, bide your time’.
âBeijing believes its own propaganda on Western fragilities and underestimates Washington’s resolve. The risk of Chinese overconfidence in miscalculation is real. ”
The UK remains keen to cooperate with China on a range of issues, including climate change, trade and investment, and generally avoids critical remarks about Beijing. But Moore’s remarks are among the sharpest comments made by a British intelligence chief or other senior security official about China.
The MI6 chief also warned of the spread of Chinese surveillance technology, which he said has been used to “target the Uyghur population of Xinjiang” and said the UK must recognize that “the technologies of control are increasingly exported to other governments “.
Moore concluded that “adapting to a world affected by the rise of China” was “MI6’s top priority”. It is understood that China is now making up most of the agency’s work for the first time, more than its traditional but still substantial focus on Russia and Islamist terrorism.
Of particular concern, Moore said earlier in an interview with the BBC, was China’s use of “debt and data traps” to trick small countries “through its economic policies to try. sometimesâ¦ getting people to hang on â.
Trying to define the data trap, Moore said, âIf you allow another country to access really critical data about your company, over time it will erode your sovereignty, you will no longer have control over it. those data. “
MI6 has been concerned for some time about China’s interest in acquiring large sets of data, including personal and medical information, whether through hacking or entering into a trade deal with a smaller country that allows it. to take control of the data and send it to its internal market.
Debt trap-like concerns have been expressed over Beijing’s Belt and Road economic development initiative, in which Chinese development projects in Africa and elsewhere are funded by its own banks .
This week, it emerged that Uganda was at risk of losing control of Entebbe International Airport to China after struggling to repay a $ 200 million loan as scheduled.
Russia, Moore added, remained an “acute threat” with its foreign interference on an “uptrend”. He reinforced the remarks made by British ministers in favor of Ukraine.
“Ukraine is a separate sovereign country, with a separate sovereign Ukrainian people,” he said.
Western spy agencies are particularly concerned about the build-up of Russian troops on Ukraine’s eastern border and the possibility of Russia supporting destabilization operations in the country. At the end of last week, Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy said his intelligence agents had uncovered a pro-Russian coup plot.
Moore said MI6 should become “more open to keep it secret” and work more closely with tech companies to counter threats posed by China and Russia, which were seeking to take advantage of the mastery of artificial intelligence and ‘other emerging technologies.