The United States has a sense of insecurity that is “beyond comprehension”, according to China’s foreign ministry spokesman Geng Shuang. He made that remark on Wednesday while refuting claims by the US National Intelligence director that the US faces multiple threats from China.
“I don’t know why the United States has such a strong sense of insecurity,” Geng said at a press conference. He said there was “no such thing as absolute security” and one country’s security could not be achieved at the expense of others.
US National Intelligence chief Daniel Coats told a Senate Intelligence Committee hearing on Tuesday that the US is confronted with multiple threats by countries like Russia and China – cyber-threats, espionage, and weaponization of outer space.
He said Russia, China, Iran and North Korea posed the greatest global cyber-threats.
“Frankly, the United States is under attack,” said Coats, who warned that the risk of a global conflict was higher than at any time since the end of the Cold War.
Coats noted that US adversaries and “malign actors”, including Russia and China, would use several tactics, including cyber and information warfare to challenge US influence around the world. But Coats devoted most of his remarks at the hearing to Moscow’s meddling in US elections.
The Chinese foreign ministry spokesman, in response, urged the US to discard its confrontational, zero-sum-game mindset and make concerted efforts with China, Russia and other members of the international community to “correspond with the trend of the times”.
“The US is the No.1 major power in the world with unparalleled military might. If it constantly thinks that it’s threatened hither and thither, what would other countries feel? How could they even survive in that case?” Geng retorted.
Concerns about China in regard to security, however, have gained steam. FBI Director Christopher Wray also told the Senate Intelligence Committee on Tuesday that Beijing has been aggressively planting spies on US campuses.
And last week, Senator Marco Rubio of Florida wrote to five Florida institutions and asked them to shut down joint programs with China’s Confucius Institute, a Beijing-funded exchange scheme to set up centers overseas to promote Mandarin and Chinese culture. The centers have come into a media glare in recent years amid suspicions of espionage and an erosion of academic freedom in host countries in the West.