U.S. intel warns of continued Chinese pressure on Taiwan | Politics | FOCUS TAIWAN

Washington, Jan. 29 (CNA) U.S. intelligence agencies indicated Tuesday that they expect Beijing to continue its efforts to force Taiwan to accept its “One China” framework and ultimately Chinese control.

Top U.S. security officials, including Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Christopher Wray, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel and Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, presented their annual global threats assessment to the Senate intelligence committee on Tuesday.

According to the assessment, Beijing will almost certainly continue to use both pressure and incentives to try to force Taipei to accept its One China framework and eventually Chinese control.

Moreover, China continues to monitor U.S. reaction to gauge its resolve in the region, the report said.

Since 2016, Beijing has persuaded six of Taiwan’s 23 diplomatic partners, most recently Burkina Faso and El Salvador, to recognize China instead of Taiwan, the 42-page analysis said.

More broadly, the assessment said China is successfully lobbying for its nationals to obtain senior posts in the United Nations’ Secretariat and associated organizations, and using its influence to press the U.N. and U.N. member states to accept its position on issues such as human rights and Taiwan.

“Beijing already controls the information environment inside China, and it is expanding its ability to shape information and discourse relating to China abroad, especially on issues that Beijing views as core to party legitimacy, such as Taiwan, Tibet, and human rights,” added the report.

The Assessment predicts that China will continue to increase its maritime presence in the South China Sea, building military and dual-use infrastructure on the Spratly Islands to improve its ability to control access, project power, and undermine U.S. influence in the area.

The report listed concerns about China’s desire to seek control over its claimed waters with a whole-of-government strategy, compel Southeast Asian claimants to acquiesce to Beijing’s claims — at least tacitly — and bolster China’s narrative in the region that the U.S. is in decline and Beijing’s preeminence is inevitable.

The report also issued a harsh warning about the cyber espionage threat posed by China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea.

“China, Russia, Iran, and North Korea increasingly use cyber operations to threaten both minds and machines in an expanding number of ways — to steal information, to influence our citizens, or to disrupt critical infrastructure,” the intelligence report said.

(By Chiang Chin-ye and Chung Yu-chen)

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