China in sight

Flag flying of the People's Republic of China. Source: Pixabay

Berlin, Germany (Weltexpress). “No Time to Die” – in the latest James Bond thriller, 007, on behalf of the British secret service MI6, together with CIA colleagues, hunts down a scientist named Obruchev, who has developed a new, world-threatening bio-ethnic nanoweapon called “Heracles”. No doubt – the very name of the cinema villain points towards Russia and the laboratories are located on the Kuril Islands belonging to Russia. The attention of Western intelligence has been focused on Russia, or the Soviet Union, for a century. While in the fictional film world of 007 the danger for the West still emanates from Russia, the real secret service MI6 now has another power in its sights: China.

Richard Moore, who has been at the helm of British intelligence for just over a year, has for the first time publicly commented on MI6’s top priorities: while it remains focused on Russia (troop deployment against Ukraine) and Iran (nuclear programme), China’s rise to global power is now the focus of attention. China is qualified in the global political analysis of the Foreign & Commonwealth Office as a “challenge to our security, our prosperity and our values”. As a precaution, Great Britain has excluded Huawei from the 5G mobile network and has sent one of its two new aircraft carriers to the South China Sea to show its presence there. The strategic and secret service cooperation with the partners of the “Five Eyes Group” USA, Canada, Australia and New Zealand keep a close eye on China.

Chinese spies according to MI6 chief Moore are “highly skilled” and engaged in espionage “on a large scale” in Britain. They monitored and pressured Chinese people living in the country and tried to manipulate social media to influence public discourse regarding China. But what worries the British secret service most is China’s rapid scientific and technological development – especially the export of surveillance technology. MI6 agents are reliant on operating anonymously and invisibly, but China’s growing access to smartphones, apps, genetic testing kits and biometric surveillance data is making it increasingly difficult for MI6 agents to operate internationally and keep their identities secret, Moore stressed.

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