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US and UK leaders are again sounding the alarm about Chinese espionage

LONDON – The head of the FBI and the head of Britain’s domestic intelligence agency sounded the alarm about the Chinese government on Wednesday, warning business leaders that Beijing was determined to steal their technology to gain competitive gains.

FBI Director Christopher Wray reiterated earlier concerns about China’s denunciation of industrial espionage and hacking operations, as well as the Chinese government’s efforts to quell dissent abroad. But his speech was notable because it was delivered at MI5’s London headquarters and alongside the agency’s Director General, Ken McCallum, in a deliberate show of Western solidarity.

It also showed the extent to which Wray and the FBI view the Chinese government not only as a challenge to law enforcement and intelligence agencies, but also attuned to the impact of Beijing’s foreign policy actions.

“We see time and again that the Chinese government poses the greatest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by ‘our’ I mean our two nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere,” Wray said.

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Officials described it as the first time leaders of the FBI and MI5 shared a stage for a joint speech.

McCallum said the Chinese government and its “covert pressures around the world” are “the most game-changing challenge we face.”

“This may feel abstract. But it’s real and it’s urgent,” McCallum said. “We need to talk about it. We have to take action.”

A spokesman for the Chinese Embassy in Washington, Liu Pengyu, said in an emailed statement that China “firmly opposes and opposes all forms of cyberattacks,” calling the US accusations unfounded.

Alluding to the current tensions between China and Taiwan, Wray said any violent takeover of Taipei by Beijing would “represent one of the most horrifying business disruptions the world has ever seen.”

Last week, the US government’s director of national intelligence said there was no sign Chinese President Xi Jinping was ready to take Taiwan by military force. Avril Haines said Xi appears to be planning this potential action as part of a broader goal of reunifying Taiwan.

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After performing with his British counterpart, Wray said he would leave it to others to question whether an invasion of Taiwan was more or less likely after Russia’s invasion of neighboring Ukraine. “I have no reason to believe their interest in Taiwan has waned in any way,” Wray said, adding he hopes China has learned what happens “when you overplay your hand,” as he said. the Russians in Ukraine.

The FBI director said there were signs the Chinese, who may be learning lessons from Russia’s post-war experience, have been looking for ways to “insulate” their economy against potential sanctions.

“In our world, we call this behavior an indication,” said Wray, who throughout his speech cautioned Western companies looking to do business in or with China. He said Western investment in China could collapse if Taiwan were invaded.

“Just like in Russia, Western investments built up over years could be held hostage, capital stranded (and) supply chains and relationships disrupted,” he said.

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President Joe Biden said in May that the US would respond militarily if China invaded Taiwan, and offered one of the most forceful White House statements in support of Taiwan’s self-government in decades. The White House later attempted to soften the impact of the statement by saying it was Biden do not outline any change in US policy toward Taiwana self-governing island that China regards as a breakaway province that should be reunited with the mainland.

The embassy spokesman said the Taiwan issue is “a purely internal matter of China” and the country has no room for compromise or concession when it comes to issues of China’s territory and sovereignty.”

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Follow Eric Tucker at http://www.twitter.com/etuckerAP

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https://www.local10.com/news/politics/2022/07/06/us-uk-leaders-raise-fresh-alarms-about-chinese-espionage/ US and UK leaders are again sounding the alarm about Chinese espionage

Sarah Y. Kim

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