US intel officials name China a “security threat” as trade talks begin

World Today

From left, FBI Director Christopher Wray, CIA Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Daniel Coats, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Gen. Robert Ashley, National Security Agency Director Gen. Paul Nakasone and National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency Director Robert Cardillo testify before the Senate Intelligence Committee on Capitol Hill in Washington Tuesday, Jan. 29, 2019. (AP Photo/Jose Luis Magana)

U.S. national security officials said that China represents the most significant counter-intelligence threat to the nation.  Six intelligence agency leaders testified before the U.S. Congress Tuesday morning.

CGTN’s Jessica Stone reports.

“China writ-large is the most significant counter-intelligence threat that we face,” said Christopher Wray, FBI Director.  “We have economic espionage investigations, for example. That’s just one piece of it.”

FBI Director Christopher Wray told lawmakers, Tuesday, the overall number of those economic espionage investigations have doubled in the past few years. And the majority, he says, lead back to China.

The warning comes just one day after Washington brought two cases against Chinese telecom giant, Huawei – for intellectual property theft and violating U.S. sanctions. Intelligence officials acknowledge they’re encouraging U.S. allies not to buy Chinese technology.  

China’s Foreign Ministry calls Washington’s accusations “slanderous.” Commerce Ministry officials said China’s technological advancements will benefit the world.

“China’s technology innovation and development is not threatening the world. We hope the fruits of our technology development can be shared by the globe through international trade and improve the well-being of people around the world,” said Gao Feng, Chinese Ministry of Commerce spokesperson.

One other hope for Beijing: peace on the Korean peninsula. But as U.S. President Donald Trump prepares to meet Democratic People’s Republic of Korea leader Kim Jong Un for a second summit next month— there’s a contradiction between Trump and his intelligence community.

While, the president’s stated goal is convincing Kim Jong Un to denuclearize, his director of national intelligence says Washington has seen evidence that Pyongyang isn’t moving forward in that direction.

“It is unlikely to completely give up its nuclear weapons and production capabilities because its leaders ultimately view nuclear weapons as critical to regime survival,” said Dan Coats, U.S. Director of National Intelligence.

While Trump has declared ISIS in Syria defeated, Coats said the terror group still commands thousands of fighters and is intent on regaining power.

“ISIS will continue to be a threat to the United States,” he said.  “This terrorism threat is going to continue for some time.”

 National Security officials also warned that Russia and other foreign powers are already planning to target the 2020 presidential elections. At the same time, the White House is weighing the possibility of declaring a national emergency on the U.S. southern border. No national security officials called the southern border a “crisis” during Tuesday’s testimony.