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U.S. rebuilding spy network in China decade after CIA exposure, says WSJ

U.S. rebuilding spy network in China decade after CIA exposure, says WSJ Photo: The United States is attempting to rebuild its intelligence network in China (Getty Images)

The United States is attempting to rebuild its intelligence network in China, following China's exposure of CIA operations within the country a decade ago, according to The Wall Street Journal.

It is reported that the U.S. still lacks insight into the intentions of Chinese leader Xi Jinping and his inner circle on key security issues, particularly regarding Taiwan.

The strengthening of the espionage network targeting China is "one goal of a titanic, but mostly secret, shift at the CIA and its sister U.S. spy agencies," as noted. This occurs against the backdrop of a broader transformation in U.S. security policy, shifting from combating insurgents worldwide to preparing for potential conflicts with China and Russia.

According to the report, unexpected attacks by Hamas on Israel on October 7 and the subsequent war in the Gaza Strip, as well as Russia's invasion of Ukraine, demanded the attention of the White House and intelligence resources, complicating CIA Director William Burns' efforts to make China a primary long-term priority.

Currently, American satellites monitor the deployment of military forces and China's modernization plans, while massive amounts of Chinese communications are intercepted using specialized devices.

Additionally, according to official sources, U.S. knowledge of Xi Jinping's plans largely comes from conclusions and analysis of his frequent public statements. Actions within China are complicated by Orwellian surveillance systems.

CIA Director Burns stated at a security forum in Aspen in July that the CIA recruits influential Chinese officials and businessmen for espionage in favor of Washington.

"We’ve made progress and we’re working very hard over recent years to ensure that we have a strong human intelligence capability to complement what we can acquire through other methods," Burns said.

The U.S. aims to find agents by exploiting dissatisfaction with Xi Jinping's leadership and the challenging economic situation in China. China, in turn, has intensified its intelligence network, often using social media to connect with former U.S. intelligence collaborators and recruit them.

Biden-Xi talks

On November 15, Chinese leader Xi Jinping visited San Francisco, where he held talks with U.S. President Joe Biden.

During a press conference following the negotiations with the Chinese leader, Biden announced that he had exchanged views on regional and global issues with Xi, including Russia's refusal to end the war against Ukraine and the conflict in the Gaza Strip.

In the course of the meeting, the leaders also discussed cooperation between the countries, including in the military sphere. For more details on this, you can refer to the material by RBC-Ukraine.