The Central Intelligence Agency announced the formation of a new China Mission Center Thursday, underscoring the Biden administration’s focus on Beijing as the United States’ top foreign policy priority and a formidable global competitor.
In a statement calling the Chinese government its “main rival,” the CIA said the mission center was the result of a series of strategic reviews launched by Director William Burns in the spring that focused on “China, technology, People and partnerships “focused” among other things.
The mission center is designed to “address the global challenge facing the People’s Republic of China, which extends across all of the agency’s mission areas,” said the CIA, and Burns added that it “will further strengthen our joint work on key geopolitical issues.” The threat we face in the 21st century is an increasingly hostile Chinese government. “
Bloomberg News first reported in August that the CIA is weighing proposals for an independent mission center with a focus on China, which previously fell under the agency’s East Asia and Pacific Agency’s mission center portfolio.
In addition to the Mission Center, Burns also announced the creation of a Chief Technology Officer and a Transnational and Technology Mission Center to “address global issues critical to US competitiveness – including new and emerging technologies, economic security, climate change, and global health . “
CIA Deputy Director David Cohen will “oversee the implementation” of changes to the agency’s organizational structure resulting from the Burns reviews, the CIA said.
The China Mission Center was founded just one day after a meeting between National Security Advisor Jake Sullivan and China’s top diplomat Yang Jiechi in Switzerland – after a phone call between President Joe Biden and Chinese President Xi Jinping last month.
Sullivan and Yang made little tangible progress in their talks on Wednesday, although the two envoys had agreed in principle to allow Biden and Xi to attend a virtual summit by the end of the year.
Sullivan also “raised” with Yang “a number of areas” where US officials are “concerned” about the Chinese government’s actions, including those “relating to human rights, Xinjiang, Hong Kong, the South China Sea and Taiwan.” according to a reading of the conversation from the White House.