Trump's intelligence chief warns China is the greatest threat to US since WWII
Dec 03, 2020 2 mins, 3 secs

Ratcliffe's piece was just the latest warning from senior administration officials about China's intentions, with some warning of possible military action in Asia and others pointing to unprecedented efforts to influence the incoming Biden administration.

The op-ed comes as the Trump administration has recently taken several concrete measures against Beijing, sharply limiting visas for members of the Chinese Communist Party and unveiling new sanctions on Chinese companies.

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo earlier this year defined the Chinese Communist Party as the "central threat of our times."

Ratcliffe struck a more urgent tone Thursday than in previous comments, underscoring the fact that he and other senior national security officials in the Trump administration are seeking to put a marker down on China in their final days on the job.

One senior national security official told CNN that the op-ed is part of a broader, administration-wide China push before President-elect Joe Biden is sworn in.

That effort is motivated, in part, by a desire to make it more difficult for the Biden administration to unwind current policies, but also by the belief that these warnings about China will be proven true in the future, the official said.

Tough on China but not like Trump?

Sources familiar with Biden's foreign policy plans say the President-elect is well aware of the challenge Beijing presents, but believes Trump's approach -- particularly taking action without consulting allies -- has undermined the ultimate goal of competing with China.

Meanwhile, the Chinese government has also been "re-vectoring" its influence efforts towards officials with the incoming Biden administration and those around them, the top US counterintelligence official, Bill Evanina said Wednesday.

The goal is to make sure those in the new administration "know what it looks like, what it tastes like, what it feels like when you see it."

Increasing tensions between Washington and Beijing

Other agencies within the Trump administration have also taken recent steps that will ratchet up tensions between Washington and Beijing.

The State Department is imposing new restrictions on travel visas to the United States for members of the Chinese Communist Party, a State Department spokesperson confirmed Thursday.

Under the new rules, the travel visas of CCP members and their immediate family members will change from 10 years to one month and will be single entry.

The US is also closely watching the ramp up of Chinese military activity around Taiwan, another potential flash point that could pose problems for the Biden administration if it continues to escalate.


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