Aspen, Colorado (CNN)The goal of China’s influence operations around the world is to replace the United States as the world’s leading superpower, the CIA’s Michael Collins said Friday.
Speaking at the Aspen Security Forum during a session on the rise of China, Collins, the deputy assistant director of the CIA’s East Asia Mission Center, said Chinese President Xi Jinping and his regime are waging a “cold war” against the US.
“By their own terms and what Xi enunciates I would argue by definition what they’re waging against us is fundamentally a cold war, a cold war not like we saw during the Cold War, but a cold war by definition. A country that exploits all avenues of power licit and illicit, public and private, economic and military, to undermine the standing of your rival relative to your own standing without resorting to conflict. The Chinese do not want conflict,” Collins said.
“At the end of the day they want every country around the world, when it’s deciding its interests on policy issues, to first and foremost side with China and not the United States, because the Chinese are increasingly defining a conflict with the United States and what we stand behind as a systems conflict.”
By looking at the writings of Xi, whose “thought” or world view was recently enshrined in China’s constitution, it’s clear, Collins says, that the threat China presents is the greatest global challenge the US currently faces.