WASHINGTON - The top US intelligence official stepped up President Donald Trump's harsh attacks on Beijing on Thursday by labeling China the biggest threat to democracy and freedom worldwide since World War Two and saying it was bent on global domination.
"The intelligence is clear: Beijing intends to dominate the US and the rest of the planet economically, militarily and technologically," Director of National Intelligence John Ratcliffe said in an opinion article posted on the Wall Street Journal website.
Ratcliffe, a former Republican congressman appointed by Trump to the top US spy job last spring, said China posed "the greatest threat to America today, and the greatest threat to democracy and freedom world-wide since World War Two."
Ratcliffe said China's economic espionage approach was threefold: "Rob, Replicate and Replace."
He said the strategy was for Chinese entities to steal American companies' intellectual property, copy it and then supplant US companies in the global market place.
He also charged that China had stolen US defense technology to "fuel" an aggressive military modernization plan launched by President Xi Jinping.
Ratcliffe said that Chinese authorities had even "conducted human testing" on members of the Chinese army "in hopes of developing soldiers with biologically enhanced capabilities."
He did not elaborate on this charge.
Ratcliffe's Wall Street Journal essay was the latest broadside against China from the Trump administration as it seeks to cement the outgoing president's tough-on-China legacy.
It is an approach that has taken relations between the world's two largest economies to their lowest point in decades and analysts say it could limit the incoming Biden administration's room for maneuver in dealing with Beijing.