The Chinese Foreign Ministry said Monday that Beijing would take countermeasures in response to the CIA saying it’s making progress on rebuilding spy networks inside China after losing assets in the country over a decade ago.
CIA Director William Burns made the comments last week at the Aspen Security Forum. “We’ve made progress, and we’re working very hard over recent years to ensure that we have strong human intelligence capability to complement what we can acquire through other methods,” he said, according to The South China Morning Post.
Responding to Burns’ comments, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Mao Ning said, “This is rather concerning. The US on the one hand keeps spreading disinformation on so-called ‘Chinese spying and cyber attacks,’ and on the other hand tells the public about its large-scale intelligence activities targeting China.” She added that China will “take all measures necessary to safeguard national security.”
According to a 2017 report from The New York Times, China broke up an American spy ring by killing or imprisoning more than a dozen CIA sources between 2010 and 2012. In 2018, a Foreign Policy report said the number of CIA assets caught in China was around 30 and said the spy ring was discovered due to a botched communication system.
Under Burns, the CIA has increased its focus on China by opening a new unit exclusively focusing on the country. CIA officials have said that Taiwan is a top issue for the new China unit. Burns said last week that the agency is working to provide early warnings if China ever decides to attack Taiwan.