In a rare occurrence, MI6 Chief Richard Moore has responded to a tweet from China Xinhua News. The tweet from the Beijing-backed news agency featured a spoof video about a “secret meeting” between MI6 and CIA agencies. The clip appears to be designed as a response to Moore’s speech in November in which he revealed that the UK considered China to be its “single greatest priority.”
Moore, who is codenamed “C” within the British intelligence community, replied to the tweet saying, “Thank you for your interest (and the unexpected free publicity).”
The spy chief also linked his reply with a copy of the speech he had delivered in November. In the speech, Moore talked about being careful about “debt traps, exposure, and vulnerability to political coercion.” Moore added that Beijing was “miscalculating through overconfidence” over Taiwan.
British cabinet members, diplomats, and administrative officials typically tread carefully when it comes to Beijing. Moore had earlier issued a warning about the rapid spread of Chinese surveillance technology, which he stated was used to “target the Uyghur population in Xinjiang.”
The spoof video released by Xinhua News on Twitter was named “No Time to Die Laughing” and the basic plot involves two MI6 agents, named “James Pond” and “Black Window” having a telephone conference with CIA agents. The video is essentially a jibe against Western spy agencies who are apparently targeting China and misrepresenting its policies for their own benefits.
At some point in the beginning, “Black Window” reads out from a dossier, supposedly on China, stating that Beijing’s national security agency was monitoring phone and internet communications in around 193 countries. Later, the character states she made a mistake, that she was reading from the wrong dossier and that it was actually about the U.S.
In another instance, agent “Pond” raises a toast to thank the head of British intelligence for playing up the “Chinese threat” by making up fictional propaganda regarding the Chinese “debt trap” and “data trap” so that the British spy agency could secure a massive budget for their operations in the following year.
Moore, in his speech, talked specifically about the Chinese debt trap wherein China coaxes developing countries into taking loans from them. In return, Beijing ends up gaining access to key infrastructure as well as data.
In a conversation with the CIA agent, Pond realizes that his phone has been tapped by the U.S. and expresses exaggerated shock. Responding to Pond’s question regarding his phone being tapped, the CIA agent warns him against using a Huawei phone due to it having a “backdoor” issue.
This exchange between the CIA and MI6 agents is said to be a reference to Britain allying with the Trump administration against Huawei. In June 2020, the UK had announced that it will dismantle Huawei kits from the country’s 5G networks. Trump had insisted that Huawei would pose a substantial security risk if it was allowed to integrate with communication networks.
There are allegations that Huawei uses its technology to carry out spying operations on U.S. citizens on behalf of the Chinese regime. These allegations have been denied by Huawei. However, the Federal Communications Commission (FCC) has designated the Chinese telecom company as a national security risk.
Pond concludes the overly bizarre conversation by saying, “To be America’s enemy is dangerous. But to be America’s friend is fatal.”