Now that the CIA has established a new mission that will exclusively focus on China, CIA Deputy Director David Cohen said that Taiwan will be one of the “number-one issues” for the new spy center.
“There’s a series of number-one issues with China,” Cohen said at an intelligence conference on Sunday. “Taiwan is definitely one of the number one issues with China we are focused on.”
Cohen’s comments came after President Biden said the US has a “commitment” to defend Taiwan in the event of a Chinese invasion. Although US officials were quick to clarify that Biden’s statement was not a change in policy, hawks in Congress are ready to give the president war powers to fight China over Taiwan.
Biden’s comments came against the backdrop of media hysteria over Chinese flights in Taiwan’s air defense identification zone (ADIZ). The ADIZ concept is not covered by any international laws or treaties, and the Chinese warplanes usually enter the southwest corner of the ADIZ, nowhere near the island of Taiwan. But some Western media outlets falsely portrayed these flights as violations of Taiwan’s airspace.
The hype over the ADIZ flights has filled Western media with articles predicting an imminent Chinese invasion of Taiwan. Cohen said that the CIA’s job is to find out how Chinese President Xi Jinping is “thinking about Taiwan” and to provide policy makers in Washington with “indicators” of a potential invasion.
When announcing the new spy center, CIA Director William Burns called China the “most important geopolitical threat” facing the US. In response to the announcement, China’s ambassador to the US said Washington should drop its “James Bond” theatrics and work towards better relations with Beijing.