Beijing to increase unification pressure on Taiwan, says US spy agencies
As Chinese President Xi Jinping begins his third term, Beijing will continue to press Taiwan on unification and try to undercut US influence in the region, according to an annual report by the US intelligence community, reported Focus Taiwan. The conclusions were made as part of the “Annual Threat Assessment of the US Intelligence Community” issued by the Office of the Director of National Intelligence (ODNI), which was presented to the US Congress on Wednesday.
As Xi begins his third term, the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) would strive to press Taiwan on unification, undercut US influence, and drive a wedge between Washington and its partners, the report said. Beijing sees US-China relations as part of an “epochal geopolitical shift,” the report said, and therefore views Washington’s measures against it as part of a broader US effort to “prevent China’s rise and undermine the CCP’s rule,” reported Focus Taiwan.
The ODNI said China was increasingly combining its growing military power with its economic, technological and diplomatic influence to strengthen CCP rule, secure its territorial claims and pursue global influence. However, China also faces challenges from an aging population, high levels of corporate debt and economic inequality, as well as resistance in Taiwan and elsewhere to its “heavy-handed tactics,” it said.
On the issue of Taiwan, the report said that Beijing would this year continue to apply pressure and possibly offer inducements for Taiwan to move toward unification, while also reacting to what it views as increased US-Taiwan engagement. For example, Beijing could take “stronger measures” to push back on perceived increased support for Taiwan, such as sending more vessels across the median line of the Taiwan Strait or firing missiles over Taiwan proper.
If Beijing succeeds in its goal to establish control over Taiwan, there would be “wide-ranging effects,” the report said, including a disruption of global semiconductor supply chains, “because Taiwan dominates production of cutting-edge chips.” Beijing would likely continue using its military to “intimidate rival claimants” in the South China Sea and signal that it has effective control over contested areas, the report said.
Separately, FBI Director Christopher Wray told a US Senate hearing that the Chinese government could use TikTok to control data on millions of American users, saying the Chinese-owned video app “screams” of security concerns. Wray told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on worldwide threats to US security that the Chinese government could also use TikTok to control software on millions of devices, and drive narratives to divide Americans over Taiwan or other issues.
The White House backed legislation introduced on Tuesday by a dozen senators to give US President Joe Biden’s administration new powers to ban TikTok and other foreign-based technologies if they pose national security threats. The endorsement boosted efforts by a number of lawmakers to ban the popular app, which is owned by ByteDance Ltd and used by more than 100 million Americans. (ANI)
(This story has not been edited by Devdiscourse staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)