Saturday, December 9, 2023

WATCH LIVE: Senate Intelligence hearing on worldwide threats with heads of U.S. security agencies

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The Senate Intelligence Committee will hold a hearing on worldwide threats with the heads of U.S. security agencies on Wednesday.

The event is scheduled to begin at 10 a.m. ET. Watch in the player above.

CIA director William Burns, National Intelligence Director Avril Haines, Defense Intelligence Agency Director Lt. Gen. Scott Berrier, NSA Director General Paul Nakasone and FBI Director Christopher Wray.

China’s President Xi Jinping accused Washington this week of trying to isolate his country and hold back its development. That reflects the ruling Communist Party’s growing frustration that its pursuit of prosperity and global influence is threatened by U.S. restrictions on access to technology, its support for Taiwan and other moves seen by Beijing as hostile.

Xi, China’s most powerful leader in decades, tries to appear to be above problems and usually makes blandly positive public comments. That made his complaint Monday all the more striking. Xi said a U.S.-led campaign of “containment and suppression” of China has “brought unprecedented, severe challenges.” He called on the public to “dare to fight.”

On Tuesday, Foreign Minister Qin Gang sharpened the warning, saying Washington faces possible “conflict and confrontation” if it fails to change course.

“The foreign minister is speaking on behalf of a widely held view that the United States is coming after China and they have to defend themselves,” said John Delury, an international relations specialist at Yonsei University in Seoul.

China is hardly the only government to fume at Washington’s dominance of global strategic and economic affairs. But Chinese leaders see the United States as making extra effort to thwart Beijing as a challenger for regional and possibly global leadership.

The ruling party wants to restore China’s historic role as a political and cultural leader, raise incomes by transforming the country into an inventor of technology, and unite what it considers the Chinese motherland by taking control of Taiwan, the self-ruled island democracy that Beijing claims as part of its territory.

Beijing sees those as positive goals, but American officials see them as threats. They say Chinese development plans are based at least in part on stealing or pressuring foreign companies to hand over technology. Some warn Chinese competition might erode U.S. industrial dominance and incomes.

Washington has set back Beijing’s plans by putting Chinese companies including its first global tech brand, Huawei, on a blacklist that limits access to processor chips and other technology. That crippled Huawei’s smartphone brand, once one of the world’s biggest. American officials are lobbying European and other allies to avoid Huawei equipment when they upgrade phone networks.

Washington cites security fears, but Beijing says that is an excuse to hurt its fledgling competitors.

The two governments have the world’s biggest trading relationship and common interests in combating climate change and other problems. But relations are strained over Taiwan, Beijing’s treatment of Hong Kong and mostly Muslim ethnic minorities, and its refusal to criticize or isolate Russia for its invasion of Ukraine.

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