Heads of MI5 and FBI warn of threat posed by China in first ever joint speech: Security chiefs say they are facing ‘game changing challenge’ from communist party which is ‘covertly applying pressure across the globe’
- MI5 director Ken McCallum and FBI chief Christopher Wray in historic address
- Heads of security agencies used joint speech to warn of China’s long-term risk
- Ruling CCP pose a ‘game changing challenge’ to the established world order
The heads of Britain and America’s intelligence agencies have promised more investigations into China as they jointly warned the world faces a ‘game changing challenge’ from the ruling communist party.
Director general Ken McCallum said MI5 is running seven times as many investigations into China as it was four years ago, and plans to ‘grow as much again’ to tackle the nation’s widespread attempts at interference.
In an unprecedented joint address with the director of the FBI, Christopher Wray, at MI5’s Thames House headquarters in London on Wednesday, business leaders and academic chiefs also heard warnings that a Chinese takeover of Taiwan could ‘represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen’.
In their historic speech, the security chiefs warned of China’s ruling community party, headed up by President Xi Jinping, attempting to ‘covertly apply pressure across the globe’.
They warned the Chinese government was a looming threat to global economics, technology, businesses and particularly to Taiwan – the tiny East Asian island that has long fought off calls to reintegrate with mainland China.
MI5 Director general Ken McCallum (left) and FBI chief Christopher Wray (right) used their historic joint address to warn of the looming threat of China’s ruling Communist Party on the established world order
In their historic speech, the security chiefs warned of China’s ruling community party, headed up by President Xi Jinping, attempting to ‘covertly apply pressure across the globe’
Mr McCallum said: ‘Today is the first time the heads of the FBI and MI5 have shared a public platform.
‘We’re doing so to send the clearest signal we can on a massive shared challenge: China.
‘The most game-changing challenge we face comes from the Chinese communist party. It’s covertly applying pressure across the globe.
‘MI5 has already more than doubled our previously-constrained effort against Chinese activity of concern.
‘Today we’re running seven times as many investigations as we were in 2018.
‘We plan to grow as much again, while also maintaining significant effort against Russian and Iranian covert threats.’
He later told reporters: ‘We plan to double again,’ adding: ‘China is the most game-changing threat in the sense that it pervades so many aspects of our national life.’
Mr Wray warned that if China was to try to ‘forcibly take over Taiwan’ it would ‘represent one of the most horrific business disruptions the world has ever seen’.
Describing the threat as a ‘complex, enduring and pervasive danger’ to ‘innovative businesses’, Mr Wray said: ‘We consistently see that it’s the Chinese government that poses the biggest long-term threat to our economic and national security, and by ‘our’, I mean both our nations, along with our allies in Europe and elsewhere.’
He told the audience the Chinese government is ‘set on stealing your technology, whatever it is that makes your industry tick, and using it to undercut your business and dominate your market.’
It comes just months after Parliament was hit by a major security alert as spooks warned MPs that Labour donor and lawyer Christine Lee (pictured with President Xi Jinping) with links to a former minister was allegedly a Chinese spy.
It comes just months after Parliament was hit by a major security alert as spooks warned MPs that a Labour donor with links to a former minister was a Chinese spy.
London-based lawyer Christine Lee, 58, was monitored by the security services for some time, parliamentarians were told in a bombshell email in early January.
In an interview with the Daily Mail earlier this year, Mr McCallum warned there were ‘ongoing attempts’ by a range of nations to influence ‘our economy, our democracy, our society’, warning: ‘These other components of UK life – the public sector, the academic sector and so forth – are still very much central to these ongoing waves of shaping activity, and need to be aware of that and make conscious smart choices.
‘We need to be clear that there is in effect a contest of different worlds now taking place, sometimes visibly, sometimes invisibly, between the liberal democrat model West and the more authoritarian model nations.
‘What we are dealing with won’t, I don’t think, become a confrontation of the sort our grandparents would recognise. [And] the UK does not need to cut itself off from the world.
‘But we do need to be clear that standing up for our values and our way of life matters and sometimes that involves tough choices.’