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China tops list of threats to US in annual intelligence assessment

AP Poll Biden China (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)
AP Poll Biden China (Copyright 2023 The Associated Press. All rights reserved)

China’s quest for international dominance and an uncertain environment brought about by climate change will create a “complex and pivotal international security environment” for the US and its’ allies in the coming years, the US intelligence community said Wednesday in its’ annual threat assessment report.

The annual document was released ahead of testimony by Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines, FBI Director Christopher Wray, and other top intelligence leaders before the Senate Intelligence Committee Wednesday morning.

Intelligence officials said the security environment for America in the next few years will be defined by “two strategic challenges” — “great powers, rising regional powers, as well as an evolving array of non-state actors” that will compete for international dominance and the right to “set emergeging conditions” in the future, and “global challenges, including climate change, and human and health security” that will continue to present themselves as the globe emerges from the Covid-19 pandemic.

“These two strategic challenges will intersect and interact in unpredictable ways, leading to mutually reinforcing effects that could challenge our ability to respond, but that also will introduce new opportunities to forge collective action with allies and partners, including non-state actors,” the report said.

On the subject of China, US officials warned that the Chinese government is “increasingly” seeking to match its’ growing military strength with technological, economic and diplomatic influence with the aim to “"strengthen CCP rule, secure what it views as its sovereign territory and regional preeminence, and pursue global influence”.

In particular, the intelligence community stressed that China is looking to use "coordinated, whole-of-government tools" to assert control over Taiwan. They also warned that a Chinese takeover of the island would bring about "wide-ranging effects, including disruption to global supply chains for semiconductor chips because Taiwan dominates production of cutting-edge chips”.

The report added that China will look to use its’ supply chain control to hobble the US in an international conflict.

China is central to global supply chains in a range of technology sectors, including semiconductors, critical minerals, batteries, solar panels, and pharmaceuticals," the report said. "China’s dominance in these markets could pose a significant risk to U.S. and Western manufacturing and consumer sectors if the Government of China was able to adeptly leverage its dominance for political or economic gain”.