U.S. accuses China of spying and stealing military tech
WASHINGTON — The U.S. is accusing China of stealing foreign technology to expand its military capabilities and become a "world class" power in the Indo-Pacific region, according to a recent report by the Pentagon.
The annual report from the Department of Defense states that China is stealing foreign military technologies through "targeted foreign direct investment, cyber theft, and exploitation of private Chinese nationals' access to these technologies, as well as harnessing its intelligence services, computer intrusions, and other illicit approaches."
Washington sees this as a threat to its military dominance as Beijing could potentially "degrade core U.S. operational and technological advantages."
The report warns that China continues to modernize and invest in its military expansion, stating that the PRC's defense budget has almost doubled within the past 10 years and will likely continue to grow.
The Pentagon predicts China's defense budget will rise from $200 billion in 2018 to $260 billion by 2022.
According to the report, China will focus on shifting its reliance on imported technology to domestically produced technology.
The U.S. believes this could pose a threat to countries that export tech products.
The report also states that projects such as the One Belt, One Road Initiative could be used as fronts to establish Chinese diplomatic and military influence overseas.
China has noticed growing suspicions from the international community regarding its Belt and Road Initiative and has since "softened their rhetoric" when promoting the project, according to the report.
However, China continues to influence the Western Hemisphere through soft power.
In late April, U.S. officials warned members of the Council of the Americas of potential security threats after some have been opening telecommunications networks with Chinese tech companies.
Kimberly Breier, assistant secretary of state for Western Hemisphere Affairs, told the council: "Citizens living in democracies in the Western Hemisphere could potentially have their entire digital identity under the control and surveillance of an authoritarian government."