The UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) chief Richard Moore has warned that China's "debt traps and data traps" pose a major threat to the world (Pic. Courtesy Twitter/@Antiwarcom)
The UK’s Secret Intelligence Service (also known as MI6) chief Richard Moore has warned that China's "debt traps and data traps" pose a major threat to the world.
In his first live broadcast interview to BBC, Moore said these traps threatened to erode the sovereignty of countries.
Moore said Beijing is "trying to use influence through its economic policies to try and sometimes get people on the hook".
The MI6 cheif's observation comes at a time when Uganda faces the prospect of losing its Entebbe International airport as it has failed to pay back the $200 million loan that it has taken from China’s Exim Bank for expanding the airport.
Beijing has refused to relax the “toxic clause” in the financing agreement that allows China to take over the airport in case there is a default on the loan.
Any proceedings against Uganda Civil Aviation Authority (UCAA) assets by the lender would not be protected by sovereign immunity since Uganda government, in the 2015 deal for the loan, waived the immunity on airport assets.
Moore also said that China has the capability to "harvest data from around the world" and uses money to "get people on the hook," he pointed out.
Explaining the data trap, he said: "If you allow another country to gain access to really critical data about your society, over time that will erode your sovereignty, you no longer have control over that data.
He said the UK authorities were well aware of this threat and have taken measures to defend the country against the danger.
Speaking later at the International Institute for Strategic Studies in London, Moore said China was now "the single greatest priority" for MI6 and warned that any miscalculation by an over-confident regime in Beijing over an issue like Taiwan could pose a serious challenge to global peace.
Speaking on the Afghanistan issue, Moore admitted that the assessment of the speed at which the Taliban would seize control of Kabul as NATO and American troops withdrew from Afghanistan was "clearly wrong."
But he said that this did not constitute an intelligence failure as there was no way of predicting such an unexpected outcome.
However, at the same time Moore said that the victory of the Taliban had been a "serious reverse" and he is concerned it will be a "morale boost for extremists around the world, and indeed for those sitting in the capitals in Beijing, Tehran, and Moscow."