The Chinese embassy in London has hit back at the head of Britain’s secret intelligence service, accusing Richard Moore of “peddling fake news” after the MI6 boss claimed China targets poor countries with “debt” and “data” traps.
In a statement on Tuesday, the Chinese Embassy in the UK dismissed allegations levied against Beijing that China actively seeks to snare poorer nations in “debt traps” and steals valuable strategic data from these countries.
The embassy claimed that Secret Intelligence Service (SIS) chief Richard Moore, who made the comments, was guilty of “peddling fake news and false intelligence” about China.
In a statement attributed to a spokesperson, the embassy wrote: “The truth is there is not a single country that has fallen into the so-called ‘debt trap’ as a result of borrowing from China.”
They added that China does not seek to interfere in the internal affairs of other countries, “nor does it impose its own will on others or seek any political benefits.”
The embassy urged Britain to correct its mistakes and “cease its unfounded attacks against China.”
In his first public speech on Tuesday, the British intelligence boss accused China’s intelligence services of “large-scale espionage operations” against the UK and urged other nations to be wary of the perceived Chinese threat.
Moore warned that by accepting Chinese technological solutions, nations may provide Beijing with a backdoor through which to steal data. He claimed that Beijing “harvests data from around the world” and over time, China’s access to other countries’ information will erode their sovereignty.
Moore – known as “C” – told BBC Radio 4’s ‘Today’ program that China is also using economic policy to enhance its own influence. He claimed Beijing is using loans and debt to “acquire significant ports that have the potential to become naval facilities.” An example is the Hambantota port in Sri Lanka, which handed it over to China after saying it couldn’t afford the debt on loans taken out with Beijing to build it.
Moore was referencing that many poorer nations have fallen into considerable debt with China. Ugandan media claims China has built the world’s most expensive road in their country, linking the cities of Entebbe with Kampala. The road, financed by Chinese loans, reportedly cost $9.2 million per kilometer. Much of the work is undertaken by Chinese firms and labor, reflecting Beijing’s two-decade-old ‘Go Out’ policy.