CIA launches new unit focused on China
The CIA announced the formation of a new Chinese mission center Thursday, underlining the Biden administration’s focus on Beijing as a top foreign policy priority and a formidable global competitor to the United States.
In a statement referring to the Chinese government as a “primary competitor,” the CIA said the mission center was the result of a series of strategic reviews launched by Director William Burns in the spring that focused on “China, technology, people, and partnerships,” among other areas.
The CIA said the mission center aims to “address the global challenge posed by the People’s Republic of China that includes all of the agency’s mission areas,” adding that Burns will advance our collective work on the most important geopolitical issues. The threat we face in the 21st century is an increasingly hostile Chinese government.”
Bloomberg News first reported in August that the CIA was studying proposals for an independent mission center focused on China, which had previously fallen under the agency’s East Asia Pacific portfolio.
In addition to the Mission Center, Burns also announced the creation of the role of Chief Technology Officer, as well as the Transnational Task Force and Technology Center “to address global issues critical to the competitiveness of the United States—including new and emerging technologies, economic security, climate change, and global health.”
The CIA said Deputy CIA Director David Cohen “will oversee implementation” of the changes to the agency’s organizational structure that resulted from the Burns reviews.
The formation of the Chinese task center comes just a day after National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan met China’s top diplomat, Yang Jiechi, in Switzerland — a follow-up to a phone call last month between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping.
Sullivan and Yang made little tangible progress during their talks on Wednesday, although the two envoys agreed in principle that Biden and Xi would participate in a virtual summit by the end of the year.
Sullivan also raised “a number of areas” with Yang where US officials “are concerned” about the Chinese government’s actions, including those “related to human rights, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea, and Taiwan,” according to a readout. Talking from the White House.