Chinese embassy requests changes to Foreign Intelligence Service yearbook ({{contentCtrl.commentsTotal}})

Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service logo.
Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service logo. Source: Siim Lõvi /ERR

The Chinese embassy has criticized statements made in the Estonian Foreign Intelligence Service (Välisluureamet) 2020 report concerning China, and called for the correction of what it calls false statements.

A statement issued by the embassy late last week referenced "an astonishment [sic] … stirred up by the annual report of the Foreign Intelligence Service, published on February 12 by the Foreign Intelligence Service."

The statement went on to say that the yearbook's section on China was based in ignorance, prejudice and a "cold war mindset", which threatened bilateral relations.

"The part [of the report] concerning China is characterized by ignorance, prejudice as well as the cold war mindset."

"Regardless [of] the prospective on-going relations between China and Estonia, it presents China as a so-called country of threat by stories out of nothing, distorted facts or malicious attacks," the statement continued.

"This is neither professional nor responsible. It is definitely misleading the public in Estonia and international community. It is a damage to the bilateral relations as well as the hurt of good feelings of Chinese people towards Estonia."

The Chinese embassy statement also spoke of close relations between Estonia since the restoration of independence, which it said was based on a mutual respect regardless of the disparity in size between the two states.

"China is one of the first countries recognized Estonian restoration of independence. Since the establishment of bilateral diplomatic relations with Estonia, China is committed to develop our friendly cooperation relations based on the principles of mutual respect, non-interference to each others' internal affairs and equality regardless of country size."

"Especially in recent years, the high-level exchange of visits are observed. Bilateral exchange of cultural activities keep increasing. The pragmatic cooperation in various fields has been deepened and achievements seen by all, benefiting our two countries and two peoples."

Request to amend Foreign Intelligence Service yearbook

The statement concluded by calling for an amendment of what it called the inaccurate information in the Foreign Intelligence Service annual review.

"The Foreign Intelligence Service is requested, based on facts and true [sic], to correct its wrong expressions to remove the negative impact. They should stop releasing the distorted report alike which harms both home and others. They are advised to make useful and practical efforts to support development of bilateral relations."

In its annual report (pp 70-79), the Foreign Intelligence Service expressed concerns about a rising influence of China, twinned with increased investment, dependency on Chinese tech, and poltial lobbying. The report also said that given the size of Estonia, such dependency, followed by later pressures, was easier to bring about, but was also part of a broader pattern in China's dealings with other countries.

The Foreign Intelligence Service yearbook said that China's: "...underlying goal is to impose its own worldview and standards, building a Beijing-led international environment that appeals to China. For example, China is attempting to reformulate the Western concept of human rights, which it reduces solely to the right to economic prosperity and a safe living environment."

The yearbook referenced 5G networks and the background of a potential investor in the proposed Tallinn-Helsinki tunnel development as concrete areas of concern relating to Estonia.

Estonian intelligence agencies have expressed concerns about Chinese mobile phone giant Huawei's proposed 5G network in Estonia, on security grounds. The U.S. blocked Huawei's 5G expansion in that country several years ago.

The yearbook also noted realities facing the Russian Federation in its dealings with China.

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Editor: Andrew Whyte

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