According to CNBC, sources “with direct knowledge of U.S. intelligence reports” say China has installed long-range anti-ship and surface-to-air missiles on three of its artificial islands in the region—and the deployment took place in just the past 30 days. The deployment of missiles on these islands hasn’t been confirmed independently, ...

Bottom Line: China’s “One Belt, One Road” economic strategy, aimed at developing regional trades routes connecting East Asia, South Asia, Central Asia and Europe, has expanded into Pakistan where Chinese companies have launched numerous projects to build up Pakistan’s infrastructure and energy sector as part of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor ...

“The world has been more dangerous, but it has never been more complicated.” These were the words Michael Hayden, former director of both CIA and NSA, used to launch the 2018 Threat Report at The Cipher Brief’s Annual Threat Conference in Sea Island, Ga., on Sunday. Hayden first prefaced the ...

Resentment, an insatiable appetite for women and an even larger appetite for cash are all elements that led to an insider threat that spelled a devastating theft of U.S. technology by a Chinese company. But this time, the culprit was caught – or at least, the company behind him was. ...

Amb. Joseph DeTrani, Cipher Brief expert and former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks with North Korea, shared his thoughts on the surprise trip by North Korean leader Kim Jong Un to visit the Chinese premier, adapted for print below. The March 26-27 visit of North Korean leader Kim ...

Bottom Line: With the stated national goal of achieving ‘great power status,’ China’s military modernization efforts have contributed to rising tension in the Asia-Pacific region, as well as between China and the United States. China’s growing ability to project military force – buttressed by the opening of its first overseas ...

China’s intelligence and security services play a pivotal role in shaping how China’s leadership views the outside world – but we in that outside world don’t know much about how they provide guidance and direction to diplomats and security officials, or how they help form government policy. When news breaks ...

Bottom line: Beijing aimed skyward with its latest attempt to expand areas of influence, unilaterally opening up several flight routes including one between Shanghai and Hong Kong that is uncomfortably close to Taiwanese airspace -- another step in its diplomatic and military pressure campaign to coerce Taiwan to rejoin China. ...

The U.S. Navy is facing tough challenges on an anemic budget: China and Russia’s growing Naval prowess; threats proliferating from increasingly advanced weapons systems; a force stretched too thin by an ever-expanding mission; and an inability to say “no” when asked to do more. The capabilities of the U.S. Navy ...

Bottom Line: China’s nationwide pursuit to become the world leader in artificial intelligence (AI) is an attempt to not only match U.S. economic power, but to bypass it geo-strategically. While Beijing’s involvement is spurred by economic ambitions, it has made it clear that the development of AI will simultaneously be ...

The People’s Republic of China has not fought a war since 1979, but the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) has been a very close student of other peoples’ wars. They have carefully analyzed foreign, especially American, conflicts of the past several decades, and they have assessed the impact of information and ...

The vast size of the proposed China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) has players on all sides struggling to calculate the pros and cons for their own interests. From the benefit of creating new trade routes to the obstacle of the war in Afghanistan, regional leaders and their citizens are assessing ...

Bottom Line: China is aggressively pursuing capabilities such as anti-satellite (ASAT) weapons that could diminish the U.S. military’s reconnaissance, navigation and communications in case of war in the South China Sea or on the Korean Peninsula. But while China’s ASAT capabilities threaten U.S. assets in space, it’s still unclear how ...

When we think of arms races, we are naturally drawn to the physical: missiles, satellites, fighter jets, submarines and aircraft carriers. While those assets are important for conventional warfare, there is an emerging technological arms race in artificial intelligence (AI) that will have profound implications for the balance of power ...

Bottom Line: As part of its ambitious strategy to evolve into a leading global power by 2050, China has spent considerable resources upgrading its naval capabilities. Through such undertakings, China has significantly enhanced its force projection in East Asia, where it has staked claim to disputed islands and waters as ...

President Donald Trump, national security advisor H.R. McMaster and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have begun using the term “Indo-Pacific” in recent months to refer to the region that extends from the west coast of the U.S. to the west coast of India. For decades previously, American leaders had called ...

Cipher Brief expert Gordon Chang says the U.S. has leverage over China that it isn’t using to defuse the challenge from North Korean leader Kim Jong Un. The Cipher Brief’s Brian Garrett-Glaser interviewed Chang as Kim and U.S. President Donald Trump trade threats of pressing a nuclear “button,” even amid ...

For this last week of 2017, we asked our experts to predict what they see for the year ahead. CIA veteran and Asia hand Amb. Joseph DeTrani spoke about what Beijing could do to check the rising threat from North Korea, including implementing U.N. sanctions that Pyongyang has called an ...

The United States Navy has achieved unmatched supremacy on the world’s seas, but Russia and China are diligently growing their naval capabilities, trying to close the gap. Should U.S. naval enterprises fail to match their rivals’ pace, then Moscow and Beijing’s maritime advancements could challenge U.S. geostrategic interests, including its ...

TAIPEI, Taiwan – The recent public threat by a senior Chinese diplomat to invade Taiwan, should U.S. naval vessels dock on the island, illustrates the increasingly precarious position of one of the region’s few democracies. Mixed signals from President Donald Trump, his administration and the U.S. Congress have only escalated ...

China’s burgeoning economic and political interests in the developing world – particularly in the Middle East and Africa – will compel Beijing to undertake a more activist approach to foreign policy. This new reality contrasts with China’s longstanding position of non-interference and will inevitably force China to become more engaged ...

President Donald Trump’s wooing of Chinese President Xi Jinping has so far failed to deliver the results he promised since their first summit meeting in April at his Mar-a-Lago compound in Florida, according to the 2017 annual report by the U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission. The bipartisan, Congressionally-mandated commission ...

For this year’s Thanksgiving Day column, The Cipher Brief revisits a unique column by Michael Morell, the former acting director and deputy director of the Central Intelligence Agency. He agreed to The Cipher Brief’s request to play the role of a senior Chinese intelligence analyst responsible for making assessments about ...

President Donald Trump is currently on his first trip to China and East Asia. The visit comes at a time when America's allies in the region are increasingly anxious about their security—which should rightfully be a major focus of the trip. But it is critical that our economic future with ...

President Donald Trump is currently on his first trip to China and East Asia. The visit comes at a time when America's allies in the region are increasingly anxious about their security—which should rightfully be a major focus of the trip. But it is critical that our economic future with ...

U.S. President Donald Trump responded to a flamboyant welcome by Chinese President Xi Jinping with effusive praise, as the two leaders presented a united front in the face of a belligerent North Korea. However, inconsistent statements on trade and other key issues in the relationship reflect a seemingly incoherent U.S. ...

On Wednesday, Chinese President Xi Jinping revealed the six other members of the Standing Committee of the Politburo (PBSC) of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP). The world had waited to see how the selected men might offer insight into Xi’s priorities for China – and for his own rule. Last ...

Most discussions about the North Korea nuclear threat focus on the risk of conflict between the U.S. and North Korea. Serious as that is, an even more important issue is what the crisis will mean for the U.S. and China – the world’s most consequential relationship. Great risk and great ...

China's 19th Party Congress begins Wednesday in Beijing. The Congress occurs every five years, and is an opportunity to understand the Chinese leadership's vision for the direction of the country. 2017's Congress is slated to be Xi Jinping's show, as he solidifies his power and appoints his political allies to the ...

China, in all probability, will be even more belligerent after its historic 19th Communist Party Congress, which starts today, Wednesday, in Beijing. At the Congress, General Secretary Xi Jinping, China’s strongman, is expected to consolidate power atop the world’s largest ruling party. Nonetheless, rumors persist that brutal infighting continues in ...

All eyes are on Beijing Wednesday as the 19th Party Congress of the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) begins. Carefully choreographed by the most central players in Zhongnanhai, the Chinese Communist Party’s headquarters just off Tiananmen Square, the Congress meets every five years to select key leadership throughout the party. This ...

The United States has long been the dominant designer, user, and seller of military drone technology. But China has quickly grown into a developer and competitive proliferator of its own in drone technology, which could have strategic implications for U.S. foreign policy in the South China Sea, and even around ...

Since the time of the first kinetic attack by an unmanned aircraft in October of 2001, the United States has relied heavily on drone technology for its relatively inexpensive loitering capabilities and the geographical reach it enables. Persistent surveillance and targeted drone strikes have become a central tenet of the ...

From the time of the first kinetic strike by an unmanned aircraft in October of 2001, the United States has relied heavily on remote-controlled drone technology for its relatively inexpensive loitering capabilities and the geographic reach it enables in the global war on terror. Over the years the U.S. has ...

Today, Friday the 13th, the Organization of American States puts its stamp of approval on Venezuela's embattled political opposition when it swears in Venezuelan Supreme Court judges, allowing them to operate here in Washington, D.C, rather than Caracas. Far from symbolic, it is the beginning of the establishment of a parallel government-in-exile and sets ...

Secretary of State Rex Tillerson heads to China this weekend for the second time since taking office in February, where he will meet with his counterpart, Chinese Foreign Minister Wang Yi, and other Chinese leaders. The trip’s intended purpose is to prepare for President Donald Trump’s state visit to Beijing ...

In May 2015, Russia and China signed a “nonaggression pact” in cyberspace. They agreed not to target each other with cyber attacks and promote the idea of sovereignty in cyberspace. China and Russia are now seeking to eliminate virtual private network services (VPN’s) from their respective internet space. Russian President ...

In 2000, Xi Jinping, the then relatively unknown (outside of China) Governor of Fujian, gave a rare interview to a Chinese newspaper. In this interview, Xi spoke of his philosophy of good governance, his traumatic childhood experiences, his closeness to the people, and his legacy as a son of Xi ...

Following North Korea’s six nuclear test, reported to be far more powerful than any previous test conducted by the Kim regime, many wonder if denuclearizing North Korea is possible. Ambassador Joseph Detrani, former Special Envoy for the Six Party Talks and Director of the National Counterterrorism Center, told the Cipher ...

After another act of defiance by the North Korean regime, all eyes turned to China, seen as the best hope to apply leverage to the regime in Pyongyang. President Trump tweeted “North Korea is a rogue nation which has become a great threat and embarrassment to China, which is trying ...

North Korea detonated a nuclear weapon underground early Sunday morning, demonstrating both its destructive power as well as its defiance of the international community. In this, North Korea’s sixth nuclear test, the blast’s power reportedly exceeded – by up to seven times - that of the nuclear bombs dropped on Hiroshima ...

China and India have backed down from a simmering dispute over their border in the Himalayan mountains, Chinese and Indian officials said Monday. The détente comes as Indian Prime Minister Narenda Modi and Chinese premier Xi Jinping prepare to meet in China at a conference of the BRICS bloc of ...

U.S. President Donald Trump this week decided to launch an investigation into Chinese practices on intellectual property. The move angered Beijing, which said the trade probe would violate international rules. The World Trade Organization (WTO) has for the past few decades been the supreme arbiter of trade disputes between countries, ...

In just the past several weeks, China has sent troops to its first overseas base in Djibouti, intercepted a U.S. surveillance plane over the East China Sea, reinforced its border with North Korea, and declared it will not back down from a border dispute with India. Beyond that, its militarization ...

When Chinese President Xi Jinping took office in 2013, he set out to tackle rampant corruption and reinvigorate a slowing economy, but he also set the stage for the modernization and expansion of the country’s military.    In recent years, Xi has consolidated his control over the armed services as the ...

China is investing heavily in its military modernization program as it aims to extend its power, not only in the region, but globally.   This has been a key focus of Chinese President Xi Jinping in the run up to the Communist Party Congress later this year, where he is expected ...

For the seven million people of Hong Kong, living next to a rising China, this year marks three important anniversaries.  Most commentary focused on the Handover 20 years ago when Hong Kong went from British to Chinese sovereignty.  The other events, the 50th anniversary of pro-communist riots and the 20th ...

Editor's Note: Amidst harsh rhetoric from both U.S. President Donald Trump and the North Korean regime, tensions are currently extremely elevated. After North Korea's missile test at the end of July, The Cipher Brief revisits its conversation with Michael Morell on Kim Jong-un's actions and intent.  American, South Korean and Japanese ...

The recent tensions between India and China have entered their sixth week. What began as a dispute over the location of a Chinese road building project along a contested border in Bhutan has drawn Asia’s two strongest powers deeper into a decades-long issue over sovereign territory and regional influence. China ...

After six weeks, tensions remain high in the Dolam Plateau (within the Doklam area), a contested border area nestled between India, China, and Bhutan. China’s road building project on a disputed portion of its border with Bhutan presents a strategic threat, according to India. Such a road would allow Chinese ...