Is China looking to dominate the world, including traditional rivals like India and Japan, by replacing the United States as the leading global superpower? A topmost CIA official for Asia said that China is waging a “cold war” against the United States and seeking “to replace the USA as the leading power in the world.” EurAsian Times analyses a Japan Times report.
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Addressing the annual Aspen Security Forum in Aspen, Colorado, CIA East Asia Mission Center Deputy Assistant Director Michael Collins’ comments at a public gathering on the rapid emergence of China were some of the severest remarks about Beijing’s global ambitions.
Collins said the Chinese leadership “has become ambitious, increasing its aspirations, its interests, its ventures around the globe to compete with the United States, and at the end, to weaken our global leadership.” Collins said that Chinese President Xi Jinping has personally supervised this drive to dethrone the United States by taking a cold war-type approach.
“By their own terms and what Xi proclaims, I would say that the Chinese are waging a cold war against us. A cold war not like we saw during the Cold War, but a cold war by definition: a nation that utilizes all avenues of power — licit and illicit, public and private, economic and military — to weaken the position of your opponent relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict. The Chinese do not want a conflict,” Collins added.
“At the end of the day they want every nation around the world, when it’s determining its interests on policy matters, to first and foremost team with China and not the United States, because the Chinese are vehemently defining a friction with the United States and what we stand behind as a systems conflict.”
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Collins’ statement reverberated those of Christopher Wray, who at the same platform said that China “represents the broadest, most challenging and the most significant threat we face as a country.”
That report said China at present “leveraging defence modernization, influence operations, and predatory economics to compel neighbouring nations to reorder the Indo-Pacific region to their benefit,” but noted that as it advanced its economic and defence ascendance it will strive to push the U.S. out of Asia.
The most noticeable feature of Beijing’s push for preeminence has been in the South China Sea, where it has established a series of defence outposts. The strategic waterway — in which the Philippines, Vietnam, Malaysia, Taiwan and Brunei also have protruding claims — includes vital sea lanes via which nearly $3 trillion in global trade passes every year.