US-led intelligence alliance builds coalition to counter China
Iran Press TV
Sun Oct 14, 2018 05:42PM
The Five Eyes US-led intelligence alliance has started to exchange classified information on China's foreign activities with other nations concerned about Beijing's growing power, according to a report.
The increased cooperation by the Five Eyes alliance - grouping the United States, Britain, Canada, New Zealand and Australia – started at the start of the year, with countries such as Germany and Japan, Reuters reported, citing seven officials in four capitals.
The exchange of classified information on China is a sign of a broadening international front against Chinese investments and operations aimed at gaining global influence, said the officials, who spoke on condition of anonymity because of the sensitivity of the talks.
"Consultations with our allies, with like-minded partners, on how to respond to China's assertive international strategy have been frequent and are gathering momentum," a US official told Reuters.
"What might have started as ad hoc discussions are now leading to more detailed consultations on best practices and further opportunities for cooperation."
The officials said the talks have been taking place "below the radar" and mainly bilaterally. Two sources said France was also involved, but on a less regular and comprehensive basis.
While China has been the main focus, discussions have also focused on Russia, several said.
Beijing, faced with growing tensions from Washington, Canberra and other capitals, has rejected accusations that it is seeking to influence foreign governments and that its investments are politically driven.
The enhanced coordination by the Five Eyes network suggests that members of US President Donald Trump's administration are working hard behind the scenes to put together an informal coalition to counter China.
It also represents another blow to China's fading hopes of convincing European countries, unsettled by Trump's "America First" policies, to distance themselves from Washington and move closer to Beijing.
Tensions have soared in recent months with the administration of President Donald Trump rolling out billions of dollars in tariffs against China in a bid to tackle its trade deficit and rein in what Washington views as unacceptable trade practices by the world's second largest economy.
The officials who spoke with Reuters described a "flurry of consultations" in recent months, with Washington driving coordination. Talks have taken place between diplomats, intelligence officials and heads of government, they said.
The Five Eyes network was set up among the five English-speaking group of countries after World War Two to counter influence by the former Soviet Union.
"We are living in a new world," said a person from a Five Eyes country who has traveled extensively to other capitals over the past year to discuss China's foreign activities.
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