Inside the Ring - Bill Gertz, Pentagon News - Washington Times
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The findings from deadlocked task force studying the origin of SARS-CoV-2 are unlikely to be published before President Trump leaves office. (Associated Press/File)

Task force on virus origin deadlocked

- The Washington Times

An interagency group of scientists and medical experts formed to study the origin of the coronavirus is deadlocked over how to report their conclusions in the waning days of the Trump administration.

SARS-CoV-2, the virus that causes COVID-19, is thought by an Israeli expert to have a genomic origin of a Chinese bat virus that underwent extensive adaptation to humans before infecting patient zero. (Associated Press/File)

Israeli intel expert: Virus likely 'unnatural'

- The Washington Times

Retired Israeli Lt. Col. Dany Shoham, who was among the first to suggest that the Wuhan coronavirus outbreak may be linked to China's military research, now believes there is a strong possibility that the virus escaped from a Chinese laboratory.

Rep. Eric Swalwell, California Democrat, argues with administration and intelligence officials who call China the greatest threat facing the U.S. (Associated Press/File)

Security questions raised about Swalwell and China

- The Washington Times

Rep. Eric Swalwell, a liberal California Democrat who last year for a short time was a Democratic presidential candidate, is under fire for his relationship with a Chinese national suspected of being an agent of the Ministry of State Security, the Chinese intelligence service.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is one of the 10 members of the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board who will be replaced. He was one of the pro-China holdovers from the Obama administration. (Associated Press/File)

Defense Policy Board purged

- The Washington Times

After this column first disclosed the large number of pro-China officials and holdovers from the Obama administration sitting on the Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, the board has been belatedly purged and new advisers will be named in the coming days.

Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden has said he would return to an Obama-era policy of reducing the role of nuclear weapons in the U.S. (Associated Press)

Biden, Democrats to scale back nukes

- The Washington Times

The federal government's $1.2 trillion program to upgrade U.S. nuclear forces is in jeopardy with the election of presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden and a Congress that could be led in both chambers by Democrats.

As vice president, Joseph R. Biden visited Chinese President Xi Jinping in Beijing. He called for intimate U.S. economic and trade integration with the emerging communist power. (Associated Press/File)

Biden favors China appeasement

- The Washington Times

Presumptive President-elect Joseph R. Biden has indicated plans to continue vigorous American policies toward China, but his record suggests he will return to the appeasement policies toward Beijing of Democratic and Republican administrations before President Trump.

An MQ-9A Reaper is shown in this undated file photo. The U.S. Air Force will operate a squadron of Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles out of a Romanian military airbase to conduct intelligence and reconnaissance missions in support of NATO operations in the region. (U.S. Air Force photograph)  **FILE**

Strike drones sold to Taiwan

- The Washington Times

The Trump administration is stepping up efforts to bolster Taiwan's defenses, announcing this week that its latest arms sale package includes the first transfer of advanced Reaper drones capable of firing missiles. Four MQ-9 Reaper drones were approved for sale to Taiwan by the State Department in a package worth an estimated $600 million.

China is building a port in Colombo, its second in Sri Lanka, as part of its Belt and Road Initiative. (Bill Gertz/The Washington Times)

China building second Sri Lanka port

- The Washington Times

China is building a second seaport on this strategic Indian Ocean island as part of the Belt and Road Initiative, Beijing's global expansion strategy.

Former Secretary of State Henry Kissinger is the architect of conciliatory U.S. policies toward China. (Associated Press/File)

Defense Policy Board and China

- The Washington Times

The Pentagon's Defense Policy Board, an influential advisory panel of former officials, is dominated by experts who do not reflect the hard-line policies toward China put into place under President Trump, according to analysts.

China has sent curricula and teachers to hundreds of American schools, ostensibly for a Chinese language and cultural effort, but Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Education Secretary Betsy DeVos are warning school administrators that program is "a real and increasing threat to U.S. classrooms." (Associated Press/File)

U.S. targets Confucius Classrooms

- The Washington Times

The State and Education departments on Wednesday warned school administrators around the country that China's "Confucius Classrooms" program is a government influence operation targeting young students.

President Trump is shown here in a Sept. 30, 2020 file photo walking out of the Oval Office. (Associated Press)  **FILE**

Countering China on tech minerals

- The Washington Times

President Trump has signed an executive order aimed at countering China's drive to corner the international market on rare earth minerals -- key elements used in high-tech products that are the backbone of the U.S. economy and key weapons systems.

This March 27, 2008, file photo shows the Pentagon in Arlington, Va.  (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak, File) ** FILE **

Pentagon needs 'Gray Zone' weapons

- The Washington Times

The Pentagon needs better weapons for waging warfare below the level of conventional military conflict -- such as information and intelligence warfare capabilities -- to win against strategic competitors, according to a report by the Defense Science Board.

China is building up its People's Liberation Army and stepping up provocations and military coercion in Asia, including against pro-democracy protesters in Hong Kong. "Gray zone" warfare below the level of armed clashes is seen as as part of Beijing's strategy to increase its power and influence throughout the region. (Associated Press/File)

PLA military coercion increases

- The Washington Times

The People's Liberation Army is stepping up provocations and military coercion in Asia as part of a strategy to increase its power and influence throughout the region, according to a National Defense University expert.

Submarine modernization remains a high priority within the overall nuclear and conventional forces build-up that has been under way in China for the past four decades. (Associated Press)

China's aggressive submarine buildup

- The Washington Times

The People's Liberation Army Navy (PLAN) is continuing an aggressive build-up of its nuclear submarine forces, according to the Pentagon's latest annual report on Chinese military power.

China is using joint ventures between businesses and economic espionage to modernize its military forces, an FBI report says. (Associated Press/File)

FBI warns corporations about Chinese theft

- The Washington Times

Chinese technology theft costs the American economy $225 billion to $600 billion annually in stolen trade secrets, pirated software and counterfeit goods, according to a new FBI report.

President Trump announced earlier this month that messaging app WeChat and social media app TikTok are threats to national security. (Associated Press)

Trump set to ban WeChat

- The Washington Times

The widely used Chinese language messaging app WeChat is facing a U.S. government ban for American users and possibly for corporations abroad, despite intense lobbying by tech companies.