U.S. intelligence leader: China ‘disturbed’ by Russia’s response to Ukraine invasion

U.S. intelligence leader: China ‘disturbed’ by Russia’s response to Ukraine invasion. Although relations between Russia and China have grown tighter in recent years, U.S. intelligence officials said China was “disturbed” after seeing the international community counteract Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. Intelligence leaders also said China was paying the price for not criticizing Russia’s behaviour.

U.S. intelligence leader: China ‘disturbed’ by Russia’s response to Ukraine invasion

The U.S. intelligence community’s 2022 National Threat Review continues to see China as the most urgent, U.S. intelligence director Avril Haines said Tuesday (March 8) at an annual House Intelligence Committee hearing on global threats. threats, followed by Russia, followed by Iran and North Korea.

“The People’s Republic of China is getting closer to becoming our equal competitor in areas related to national security, they are pushing hard to revise international norms and institutions to suit their interests, and they are also challenging the United States in multiple areas, especially in terms of economics, military and technology,” Haynes said.

“China-Russia relations are getting closer”

As the world focused on Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, Haynes pointed to the growing alliance between China and Russia.

“We can see it in a range of areas, economics, politics, security, and [the Sino-Russian cooperation] is expected to continue. I think there is a limit to that trend, but nonetheless, it’s still an alarming concerns,” Haynes said at the hearing.

Dan Coats, then the U.S. director of national intelligence, testified at a 2019 congressional hearing that Beijing and Moscow are investing significant resources in a battle for technological and military superiority, and “the relationship between the two countries is stronger than it has been since the mid-1950s.” Always closer.”

Such an assessment was still generally shared by other U.S. intelligence leaders at the hearing Tuesday, including CIA Director William Burns. Burns said Russia-China relations have continued to develop since 2019, but he believes Beijing is currently uneasy about what is happening in Ukraine.

Beijing’s uneasy stance is embarrassing

“I think President Xi and the Chinese leadership are disturbed by what they’re seeing in Ukraine, they didn’t expect such a major difficulty for Russia, and I think they’re also upset about the reputational damage that their close ties to President Putin could have caused. Disturbed,” Burns said.

He further said that Beijing is closely watching the sanctions and economic isolation imposed on Russia by the international community, “They are facing 30 years of low annual growth rates, and I think they are a little nervous about the impact of this (crisis) on the global economy. .”

Burns went on to say at the hearing that Beijing was also disturbed by seeing Europe and the United States unite against Putin’s actions because “they (China) value their relationship with Europe, they think they have the ability to play a role in our (U.S.) ) and Europe”.

It has been two weeks since Russian President Vladimir Putin ordered the invasion of Ukraine to ignite the war, which not only caused serious casualties and property damage, but also led to the worst refugee crisis in Europe since World War II. According to the United Nations, more than 2 million refugees have fled Ukraine.

China’s position on the Ukraine crisis remains ambiguous. The Beijing authorities have always avoided condemning Moscow’s military aggression, even reluctant to define the actions of the Russian military as “aggression”, and even refused to participate in the economic sanctions imposed on Russia by major countries in the world.

However, Chinese President Xi Jinping made a subtle change in attitude Tuesday during a video summit with French President Emmanuel Macron and German Chancellor Olaf Scholz on the Ukraine crisis. Although Chinese leaders still did not condemn Putin or accuse Russia of “aggression” at the meeting, the tone of their speech seemed to be shifting toward a neutral position, at least with fewer words to accuse the United States and NATO.

Haynes said it was unclear how the Ukraine crisis would affect cooperation between China and Russia.

“I think it’s pretty clear that China hasn’t come out and explicitly criticized Russia’s behavior, but at the same time, they did abstain from voting, such as in UN Security Council resolutions and other situations,” Haynes said. “They do seem to be There is a potential price to pay for not criticizing Russia, and that could have implications for their trajectory.”

Haynes stressed that she believes that, in general, relations between Beijing and Moscow will continue to draw closer.

Rep. Mike Gallagher (R-WI), a Republican from Wisconsin, a member of the House Intelligence Committee, told VOA that he also agrees that China and Russia’s alliance and cooperation will deepen.

“The foundation of the growing partnership (of China and Russia) is that they both see the United States and democracy as a threat to their regime,” Gallagher said in an interview with VOA.

Gallagher believes that Beijing sees the partnership with Russia as an opportunity to distract and divide the West. “It will also make Russia more dependent on China in the future, which will increase Xi Jinping’s influence over Putin in the long run,” Gallagher said.

Bipartisan lawmakers worry about ‘copycat effect’ in Beijing

Gallagher also said he was concerned that Beijing would emulate the Moscow invasion as a reference to force unification of Taiwan. “I’m more concerned about the threat to Taiwan,” Gallagher said.

“My concern is that when all the dust settles, if all containment efforts in Ukraine fail, Xi Jinping will come to the conclusion that ‘you can use force to invade other countries, all you need to face is economic sanctions from the United States’ , then I think he would be willing to pay that price,” Gallagher said.

A number of bipartisan lawmakers asked at Tuesday’s hearing whether the Russian aggression would have a “copycat effect” on China, prompting a military invasion or blockade of Taiwan.

“Taiwan and Ukraine are two very different situations,” said LTG Scott Berrier, director of defense intelligence, in response. “I also think our deterrence posture in the Pacific is completely different, and we do know that China is very careful. Watching what happened and how it all unfolded.”

Rep. Raja Krishnamoorthi (D-IL), a Democrat from Illinois, said at the hearing that he believed China had miscalculated the Russian action.

“The Chinese government must have misjudged our resolve and our collective ability to inflict economic damage on those who carry out malicious aggression,” Krishna Modi said.

“I do think … they were surprised and disturbed by some of what they’ve seen in Ukraine over the past 12 days, from the strength of the Western response to this to the staunch resistance of the Ukrainian people,” CIA Director Burns said.

However, Burns also reminded that the United States should not underestimate the resolve of Chinese leaders on the Taiwan issue.

After seeing the various sanctions imposed by various countries on Russia, Haynes believes, “This may make China more serious about our serious position on the Taiwan issue, especially when Europe and the United States are united in adopting sanctions, not only Solidarity, and the impact of the sanctions, I think both are critical to their calculations.”

In addition to the House hearing, Director of National Intelligence Haynes, CIA Director Burns, FBI Director Christopher Wray, Defense Intelligence Director Beryl, and the Commander of Cyber ​​Command and Director of the National Security Agency , Army General Gen. Paul Nakasone and other five leaders of the US intelligence community will also appear at a Senate hearing on the same topic on Thursday.

Sunbal Razzaq

Sunbal Razzaq is the founder & CEO of Sunshine Tips.

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