LOS ANGELES (NewsNation Now) — An op-ed written by the Director of National Intelligence called China a “great threat to the U.S.” and accuses the country of spying. Friday, China said those claims are false.
Beijing, China’s foreign affairs spokeswoman Hua Chunying accused American politicians of spreading a “concoction of lies” in response to The Wall Street Journal opinion column that declared China as America’s number one security threat.
The U.S. Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe wrote the piece, which dubbed China as the greatest threat to democracy and freedom since World War II.
Chunying accused Ratcliffe of spreading false information which is damaging U.S. credibility. Despite an optimistic start between President Donald Trump and President Xi Jinping, things have soured with moves and countermoves over trade, technology, and visas.
According to Ratcliffe, China has long engaged in economic espionage, stealing American intellectual property and covertly influencing legislation.
“It makes sense to consider China as a potential threat,” Clay Dube, Director of the U.S.-China Institute at USC said.
Dube said economic espionage is a real problem, but he believes the Ratcliffe column goes too far.
“It describes potential cases as if they were real ones. Potential threats, as if they were right around the corner. It uses certain incidents and highlights them in a way that is misleading. So I think the op-ed itself is an overstatement,” Dube said.
However, author Gordon Chang believes there is urgency and a need to remain aggressive with China which he calls an “existential threat.”
“Beijing has been successful in extending its influence. And that’s what makes this now such a dangerous moment. Because we as a people are not united. Now we’re divided over a lot of things and China is exacerbating those divisions, therefore making it much more difficult to defend ourselves,” said Gordon Chang.
According to Chang, China has become much more belligerent and malicious in recent years so the Trump administration stance is important.
“The United States is pivoting, we’re now starting to talk about China in more realistic terms and we’re starting to confront the danger that Beijing poses to the United States and indeed, the entire international community,” Chang said.
Observers argue the tone set by the outgoing administration will complicate matters for the incoming administration. Ratcliffe said he has already shifted $85 billion dollars from the annual intelligence budget to solely address the threat from China.