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China is ia “near-peer” competitor that is challenging the United States in a vareity of ways, intelligence officials warned Tuesday.
A report by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence identifies China’s aggression in the South China Sea, increased ties with Russia and its international Belt and Road Initiative as the foreign policy concerns that officials believe pose the greatest security risks.
Security challenges with Russia, Iran and North Korea, landed them as the next top international threats to the U.S., followed by transnational risks like pandemic diseases, climate change and emerging technologies.
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“Beijing, Moscow, Tehran and Pyongyang have demonstrated the capability and intent to advance their interests at the expense of the United States and its allies, despite the pandemic,” the report released Tuesday said. “China increasingly is a near-peer competitor, challenging the United States in multiple arenas — especially economically, militarily and technologically — and is pushing to change global norms.”
The report laid out U.S. concerns surrounding China’s development of weapons of mass destruction, space and counter-space capabilities, along with cyber-attacks that “at a minimum” can cause “disruptions to critical infrastructure” in the U.S.
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Russia’s regional activities are also concerning top U.S. security officials, though not in regard to international dominance, but rather as a provocative influence. The report noted Russia’s attempts to undermine U.S. alliances with Western nations and “shape global events as a major player.”
The report could shape how the Biden administration tackles not only Russian threats moving forward, but its negotiations with Iran.
The section on Iran suggests that security officials do not believe the Middle Eastern nation is currently advancing “key nuclear weapons development activities,” but notes Iranian leadership will likely be unwilling to cooperate on nuclear non-proliferation until sanctions are lifted.
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North Korea’s chief challenges to the U.S. involve its continued development of weapons of mass destruction and the threat it poses to South Korea, Japan and the U.S.
The Director of National Intelligence Avril Haines and CIA Director William Burns are set to begin testifying on Capitol Hill Wednesday in front of the Senate and House intelligence committees.
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