Tags: Cooperation | Chinese | and | Russian | Special | Services

Cooperation of Chinese and Russian Special Services

Thursday, 28 February 2002 12:00 AM

According to multiple sources, the Communist Chinese intelligence machine was created with the help of the Soviet Union.

Ties between Russian and Chinese intelligence were forged during China's Civil War, when Mao Tse-tung was based in the mountains of Yan'an province in Northwest China.

In fact, the most experienced Soviet intelligence officers in political and military operations were assigned to Mao's headquarters, and these agents set the groundwork for future Chinese espionage.

This special relationship between China and Russia lasted until the beginning of the 1960s. During this period, the two countries worked closely together against the U.S., and their joint efforts proved extremely effective during the Korean War.

All high-ranking operatives in the Chinese secret services have been upgraded in the USSR, mostly with KGB assistance.

In 1993-94, the author had a series of interviews with Ivan Arkhipov, Soviet general adviser in China in 1950-57 and deputy prime minister of the USSR in 1984-86.

Mr. Arkhipov gave astonishing details of successful cooperation between Soviet and Chinese secret services in 1950-53, during the Korean War, in northeast China (counterintelligence) and in Korea (intelligence).

When the USSR collapsed in 1991, Russia and China began to restore their military intelligence ties. In the late summer of 1992, Yevgeni Primakov, then director of SVR (Sluzhba Vneshnei Razvedki – Foreign Intelligence Service, subordinated to the KGB), went to Beijing as a special envoy of Russian intelligence to sign a top-secret intelligence agreement with China.

This secret treaty involved the Russian Military Strategic Intelligence (GRU) and SVR itself. These two Russian agencies started coordinating their operations with the Military Intelligence Directorate of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA).

The formal agreement of cooperation between Chinese and Russian intelligence was signed, in a package of 14 Chinese-Russian framework cooperation agreements, during the first visit by Russian President Yeltsin to China in November 1992.

Several months after that, the author had a chance to glimpse this agreement. It contained mostly common phrases about "cooperation," "mutual assistance" and "information exchange." However, the base for Chinese-Russian intelligence cooperation was re-established and even upgraded.

This cooperation was additionally upgraded and expanded in April 1996, when Chinese President Jiang Zemin and Russian President Boris Yeltsin declared in Beijing the "strategic cooperation" of the two countries and signed a new series of agreements for military, military-technological and intelligence cooperation.

Primakov, then foreign minister and former SVR chief, played a special role in promoting intelligence cooperation between the two countries.

In 1997-98, this cooperation was additionally expanded by efforts of PLA Deputy Chief of General Staff Xiong Guangkai, in charge of PLA intelligence, and his Moscow counterparts, particularly Deputy Chief of Russian General Staff Valery Manilov, who visited Beijing in July 1998.

The Russian default in August 1998 directly resulted in (a) undermined Russian relations with the West, (b) further and rapid development of strategic-military ties with China and (c) appointment of Yevgeniy Primakov to the position of Russian prime minister.

The environment for Chinese-Russian cooperation on intelligence was now excellent.

According to indirect data, the two sides concentrated major effort on getting all the information available about the U.S. national missile defense project and the East Asian theater missile defense project.

In the spring of 1999, after the U.S.-U.K. "Desert Fox" operation in Iraq and the start of the Yugoslav war, the Chinese and Russian leadership decided to upgrade their informal strategic-military alliance to a formal one. Naturally, the intelligence services of the two countries appeared to be in the vanguard of this movement.

The first-ever visit of Chief of the General Intelligence Department (Glavnoye Razvedyvatelnoye Upravleniye – GRU) of the Russian Army General Korabelnikov to Beijing at the end of May 1999 perfectly reflected the new situation.

An "epochal visit" of Col.-Gen Zhang Wannian, first deputy chief of the China Central Military Council, to Russia took place on June 9-15, 1999. Gen. Zhang was accompanied by several PLA top brass, including Gen. Xiong Guangkai.

The first day of the visit Gen. Zhang and Gen. Xiong spent in negotiations with then-FSB chief Vladimir Putin. On June 10-11 the Chinese guests met Gen. Manilov and Gen. Korabelnikov. These talks laid a solid base for strong ties between the intelligence agencies of the two countries for the coming years.

The establishment of the "Yeltsin-Putin" regime in Russia, in August 1999, additionally promoted Chinese-Russian cooperation in this area.

Here are excerpts from the article "Nostalgic Spies Unite," published in September 1999 in the "Moscow Times" daily, by Konstantin Preobrazhensky, ex-KGB lieutenant colonel and specialist on the Chinese secret services:

"Currently, every series of [official] talks between Russia and China includes on its roster a representative of those countries' respective intelligence agencies."

"Getting things going in such a joint effort would be easy. After all, both intelligence agencies grew from the same root. Right up to the beginning of the 1960s, the leading posts in Chinese intelligence were held by people from Lubyanka [KGB headquarters in Moscow]. Relations cooled, and the Soviets went home. But the same people who wanted them there in the first place are in power in China to this day."

"The cooperation between Russian and Chinese spies would be easy from a psychological point of view as well. After all, the Chinese spies are communists. The Russians are all former members of the Communist Party, and they maintain great nostalgia for communist times, when their pay and their prestige were higher. They don't hide their communist sympathies. In Russia, that Stalin-era form of address 'comrade' peppers their speech like a pet name. It would be very easy for the Russians to find a common language with the Chinese. At the same time, Russian spies don't like America at all, and blame it, as the bulwark of world capitalism, for all the misfortunes that befell Russia after the fall of the KGB."

"The striking similarity of Chinese and Russian intelligence communities [also played a role]. Chinese and Russian intelligence communities are like twin brothers. Nearly everything coincides – their methods, their thought and even the number of departments. ... Now, such a state of affairs between the two intelligence agencies could be used to deploy cooperative intelligence against a common enemy [the U.S.]. ... Friendly meetings of like-minded opponents of the United States will take place in Moscow and in Beijing. What can Moscow expect to get from this? For Russian agents, sweet nostalgia is probably enough."

[end of excerpts]

Almost simultaneously, in September 1999, AP and Reuters published the following report:

"U.S. Customs Service officials have charged a naturalized U.S. citizen from Belarus and his Russian partner with attempting to purchase and smuggle sensitive U.S.-made avionics to a customer in Russia. Peter M. Leitner, a senior strategic trade adviser at the Defense Threat Reduction Agency, said Russian buyers of avionics made specifically for Japan and Taiwan 'suggests they've got either a Chinese or a North Korean customer.'

"Customs officials identified the two men as Edward A. Batko, a naturalized U.S. citizen from Belarus, and Mikhail Press, a Russian national in the United States on a temporary visa."

[end of the report]

It would seem the intelligence services of Russia and Belarus tried to fulfill the order of their Chinese colleague. They failed in this case, but very probably succeeded in many others. We are dealing with a real "underground kingdom" that threatens the most vital interests, if not the existence, of America.

It is possible to conclude that, from the second half of 1999, Russian and Chinese intelligence agencies have once again combined their efforts to penetrate America's military-industrial complex and computer networks, especially to gather information on advanced weaponry, and are pooling their best available intelligence.

By the way, accumulated information of this kind could easily be used for new terror strikes against key components of the U.S. financial-economic, military and technological infrastructure.

Remarkably, Chinese intelligence now surpasses Russian intelligence, particularly on the technological level. An article published by the Segodnya paper, in May 2000, is titled "Russian Special Services Will Take Lessons From Their (Former) Chinese Students."

In January 2002, Russia evacuated the spy base in Lourdes, Cuba. In October 2001, just after President Putin's decision to close the spy base, China started negotiations with Havana to transfer the Lourdes facility to its own intelligence structures.

China substitutes for Russia in the abandoned cells of the spy network; the cells merely change owners. Or should we consider it to be a joint venture working against their perceived common enemy, the United States?

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According to multiple sources, the Communist Chinese intelligence machine was created with the help of the Soviet Union. Ties between Russian and Chinese intelligence were forged during China's Civil War, when Mao Tse-tung was based in the mountains of Yan'an...
Thursday, 28 February 2002 12:00 AM
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