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China, Russia, Iran top U.K. threat list: MI6

China, which is increasingly flexing its muscles around the world, is one of the biggest threats to Britain and its allies, and a “miscalculation” by Beijing could lead to war, the head of the U.K.’s foreign intelligence agency said on Tuesday.

MI6 chief Richard Moore said that China, Russia, Iran and international terrorism make up the “big four” security issues facing Britain’s spies in an unstable world where both countries and illicit organizations are racing to exploit fast-changing information technology.

In his first public speech since becoming head of the Secret Intelligence Service, also known as MI6, in October 2020, Mr. Moore said China is the intelligence agency’s “single greatest priority” as the country’s leadership increasingly backs “bold and decisive action” to further its interests.

Calling China “an authoritarian state with different values than ours,” he said Beijing conducts “large-scale espionage operations” against the U.K. and its allies, tries to ”distort public discourse and political decision-making” and exports technology that enables a “web of authoritarian control” around the world.

“Beijing’s growing military strength and the party’s desire to resolve the Taiwan issue, by force if necessary, also pose a serious challenge to global stability and peace,” Mr. Moore said.

“The Chinese Communist Party increasingly favor decisive action justified on national security grounds. Beijing believes its own propaganda about Western frailties and under-estimates Washington’s resolve. The risk of Chinese miscalculation through overconfidence is real.”

Mr. Moore said the U.K. also continues “to face an acute threat from Russia.” He said Moscow has sponsored killing attempts, such as the poisoning of former spy Sergei Skripal in England in 2018, mounts cyberattacks and attempts to interfere in other countries’ democratic processes. “We and our allies and partners must stand up to and deter Russian activity, which contravenes the international rules-based system,” he said.

“No country in Europe or beyond should be seduced into thinking that unbalanced concessions to Russia bring better behaviour,” he said.


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Printable version | Jan 22, 2022 8:34:47 PM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/international/china-russia-iran-top-uk-threat-list-mi6/article37775549.ece

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