Britain’s spy chief on Thursday said that China is now the top intelligence priority for the Secret Intelligence Service, known as MI6, surpassing counterterrorism.
“We are putting more effort into China. We now devote more effort to China than any other single subject,” Secret Intelligence Service Chief Richard Moore said when addressing the Aspen Security Forum in Colorado.
“It reflects the seriousness of the mission for us,” Moore added.
Understanding how Beijing pursues its strategic goals was a particularly complex challenge, Moore said.
He said that it was still a “pretty opaque system” when seeking to engage with China “in a position of strength,” whether that is in trade or seeking some common ground on climate change.
It is actually quite easy to understand the strategic intent of Chinese President Xi Jinping (習近平), as Beijing’s economic policy of “Made in China 2025” lays out the Chinese ambition and desire to dominate key technologies, he added.
“If you go beneath that strategy in terms of how they implement, how they organize, what their tactical intent is, and then what are the capabilities they’re building up — that’s a black box,” Moore said.
“And there’s a role for organizations like mine in helping British ministers and policymakers to understand that, so they can navigate this really complex, difficult relationship with the Chinese,” he said.
A military conflict between China and the West over Taiwan is “not inevitable” if the West sends a clear message to Beijing that there would be dire consequences if it invaded Taiwan, Moore said.
“It’s important that President Xi, as he calculates what he may or may not do with Taiwan, looks at what can go wrong with a misjudged invasion,” he said.
“Clearly we need to find ways of messaging with clarity and getting the sort of deterrence in place that’s necessary to avoid that kind of miscalculation,” he added.
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