Published: 10:40, July 8, 2022 | Updated: 10:40, July 8, 2022
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An imaginary enemy in spy chief 's eyes
By China Daily

The heads of the US and UK domestic intelligence agencies made a joint appearance on Wednesday, offering their views on what constitutes a threat as seen through the prism of their organizations.

In the current global political climate there are no prizes for guessing what they consider to be the "biggest long-term threat" to the two nations, and their allies in Europe and elsewhere.

Just in case anyone was in any doubt, FBI Director Christopher Wray, speaking at MI5's London headquarters alongside the agency's director general Ken McCallum, spelled it out: it is the Chinese government that keeps them awake at night as the biggest "threat" to economic and national security.

Blithely ignoring his own country's irrefutable track record in this regard, Wray warned Western business leaders that Beijing "is determined to steal their technology for competitive gain".

He painted a verbal picture to plant the seeds of suspicion, but offered no evidence to support his allegation.

McCallum, adding his two-pennies worth, said, the Chinese government is "the most game-changing challenge we face", alleging it is applying "covert pressure across the globe".

Of course, whenever China launches a new rocket to put telecommunications satellites in orbit, it's "a threat". When China helps build a new port, bridge, road or railway somewhere, it's "a threat".Whenever China sends medical teams to assist other countries, it's "a threat". Whenever Chinese scientists collaborate with those in Western countries, it's "a threat". Even Chinese tourists traveling to the West are labeled as "a threat".

The West needs an enemy and China is being shoehorned into that role.

Even Beijing's pursuit of national reunification is "a threat".

"I don't have any reason to think their (Beijing's) interest in Taiwan has abated in any fashion," the FBI director told journalists after his speech.

Of course not, when it comes to questions of China's territory and sovereignty, the country has "no room for compromise or concession," as Liu Pengyu, a spokesman for the Chinese embassy in Washington, said in an emailed statement to The Associated Press.

"We will strive for the prospect of peaceful reunification with utmost sincerity and efforts," the statement said, but China will "reserve the option of taking all necessary measures in response to the interference of foreign forces."

That is where the real threats are to global peace and stability: The desire of the US and UK to maintain their legacy privileges that were accrued through colonialism and the design of the postwar system.

Instead of building castles in the sky from which to pour boiling oil on others, the two intelligence chiefs should reflect on the behavior clues contained in their remarks.