China and Russia, Aligned More Closely, Seen as Chief Security Threat to U.S.

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from The Wall Street Journal,

The two nations are pouring resources into a ‘race for technological and military superiority,’ annual intelligence report says.

U.S. intelligence officials warned Tuesday of increased threats to national security from tighter cooperation between China and Russia, while also differing with President Trump in their analysis of North Korea’s nuclear intentions and the current danger posed by Islamic State.

The warnings were contained in an annual threat assessment that accompanied testimony by Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats, Federal Bureau of Investigation Director Chris Wray, Central Intelligence Agency Director Gina Haspel and other leaders of the U.S. intelligence community, who appeared Tuesday before a Senate panel. The annual exercise affords the public a look at imminent challenges facing the country, such as cyberattacks, nuclear proliferation and terrorism.

The assessment cautioned that Beijing and Moscow are pouring resources into a “race for technological and military superiority” that will define the 21st century. It said the two countries are more aligned than at any point since the mid-1950s.

While the U.S.’s traditional military remains generally unmatched, both adversaries have increasingly relied on cyber theft, espionage and online influence campaigns to achieve political and economic gain, while expanding their capabilities for disruptive cyber operations, the assessment said.

As China and Russia seek to exert more influence regionally and globally, alliances between the U.S. and its Western allies have weakened, the report said. “Some U.S. allies and partners are seeking greater independence from Washington in response to their perceptions of changing U.S. policies on security and trade,” it said.

The efforts by China and Russia could lead to a higher risk of regional conflicts, particularly in the Middle East and East Asia, the report found.

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