WASHINGTON, U.S. - Despite the U.S. President Donald Trump's repeated attempts at unleashing a trade war with China, a top CIA experts has pointed out that the Xi Jinping-led country continues to wage a quiet 'cold war' against the U.S.
During a session on the rise of China at the Aspen Security Forum, Michael Collins, deputy assistant director at CIA's East Asia mission center alleged that Chinese President Xi Jinping and his regime are waging a "cold war" against the U.S. and that the country is vigorously working around the globe, to undermine American interests.
Collins reportedly said, "By their own terms and what Xi enunciates I would argue by definition what they're waging against us is fundamentally a cold war, a cold war not like we saw during the Cold War, but a cold war by definition. A country that exploits all avenues of power licit and illicit, public and private, economic and military, to undermine the standing of your rival relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict. The Chinese do not want conflict."
Further, the top CIA expert alleged that China is making multiple efforts globally, to supplant America as the world's leading superpower and cited Beijing's actions to build man-made islands in the South China Sea.
He pointed out that these are efforts by China to spur territorial growth and allow for annexation of the islands - which he said were akin to "the Crimea of the East," referring to Russia's 2014 annexation of the Ukrainian region.
He said, "At the end of the day they want every country around the world, when it's deciding its interests on policy issues, to first and foremost side with China and not the United States, because the Chinese are increasingly defining a conflict with the United States and what we stand behind as a systems conflict."
Collins further pointed out efforts made by China are evident in the writings of Xi Jinping, whose "thought" or world view was recently enshrined in China's constitution.
He said, "It's clear that the threat China presents is the greatest global challenge the U.S. currently faces."
Adding, "It sets up a competition with us and what we stand behind far more significantly by any extreme than what the Russians could put forward."
Experts pointed out that Collins' statement echoed those made by other top American intelligence officials - including FBI Director Christopher Wray and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats.
Both the senior officials have pointed to China as the most significant danger for the U.S. today.
On Wednesday, Wray claimed, "I think China, from a counterintelligence perspective, in many ways represents the broadest, most challenging, most significant threat we face as a country. And I say that because for them it is a whole of state effort. It is economic espionage as well as traditional espionage; it is nontraditional collectors as well as traditional intelligence operatives; it's human sources as well as cyber means."
Further, commenting on Chinese espionage efforts uncovered by his agency, Wray said, "The volume of it. The pervasiveness of it. The significance of it is something that I think this country cannot underestimate."
A day later, Coats said that the U.S. needed to decide if China was a "true adversary or a legitimate competitor."
Further, the National Intelligence director also criticized Chinese state efforts to steal business secrets and academic research and pointed out, "I think that's where we begin to draw the line."
Further, this week, Trump too stated in an interview that his administration was all set to implement additional tariffs targeting Chinese imports into the U.S..
In his interview with CNBC, Trump said that he's "ready to go" with $500 billion in additional tariffs that the administration says is equal to all Chinese goods sold in the U.S.
Trump reportedly said, "I'm not doing this for politics. I'm doing this to do the right thing for our country. We have been ripped off by China for a long time, and I told that to President Xi [Jinping]."