Chinese experts said Monday that it is unwise for the US to list China as one of its major targets of military intelligence work as the Pentagon prepares to expand its spy network around the world.
"Targeting China will be an unwise move for the US, as it badly needs to cooperate with China in anti-terrorism and the proliferation of nuclear weapons," Jin Canrong, deputy dean of the School of International Studies at Renmin University of China, told the Global Times.
In a major expansion of its intelligence gathering activities, the Pentagon plans to assemble a network rivaling the Central Intelligence Agency (CIA) in size, The Washington Post reported.
US military officials will send hundreds of additional spies overseas, expanding the Defense Intelligence Agency (DIA) to as many as 1,600 intelligence "collectors" around the world - a major step-up for an agency whose presence abroad has not exceeded triple digits in recent years, the paper said.
The prime targets for the overhauled DIA would be Chinese military, Iranian and North Korean arms transfers, and Islamist militant groups in Africa, reports The Washington Post, citing a number of officials.
"The recent breakthroughs China had in its military technology, such as aircraft carrier and fighter jets, have made the US realize that it could have underestimated China's capability in military development," said Jin. "It might have prompted the US to enhance its intelligence work."
However, expanding its spy force to 1,600 people will greatly increase the cost for the government, which has already been struggling with its financial woes recently, Jin said, adding that how long this larger spy network can stay in operation remains unknown.
US officials said that the plan also includes deployment of a new generation of clandestine operatives to be trained by the CIA. These new operatives will work frequently with the US Joint Special Operations Command, but will get their spying assignments from the Department of Defense, the paper said.