Thursday December 31 2020, 12.00pm GMT,
The United States is set to accuse China of offering to pay mercenaries to attack American soldiers in Afghanistan after President Trump received an uncorroborated intelligence briefing on the issue, according to reports.
The intelligence dossier handed to Mr Trump by his national security adviser on December 17 is expected to be declassified. According to the Axios website, it claims that Beijing offered bounties to non-state actors, possibly Taliban fighters, to engage US forces.
Updated 0841 GMT (1641 HKT) December 31, 2020
(CNN)United States President Donald Trump received unconfirmed information earlier this month that China sought to pay non-state actors to attack American forces in Afghanistan, a senior administration official told CNN.
The intelligence, which will be declassified by the Trump administration, was provided to the President in his daily brief on December 17, the official said. His national security adviser Robert O’Brien discussed the information with the President that same day, the official said.
In a briefing Thursday, China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Wang Wenbin described the accusation as slanderous and said it was “completely nonsense and completely fake news.
“News of the briefing and the administration’s intention to declassify the information was first reported on Wednesday by Axios.
Information of this alleged intelligence is thus far uncorroborated. The scenario is reminiscent of reports earlier this year that Russia allegedly offered Afghan militants bounties to kill US forces in Afghanistan.
That information also appeared in the President’s intelligence briefing although it was later revealed that the information likely went unnoticed for weeks.Trump has yet to publicly call Russia out on the issue.
In the regular press briefing Thursday, Wang said China “has always pursued an independent foreign policy of peace” and “never initiated a war to others, let alone funded non-state actors to attack other countries.”
“China supports the process of peace and reconciliation in Afghanistan, and does not get involved in the internal conflicts in Afghanistan,” he added.
While it’s unclear whether President-elect Joe Biden has seen the intelligence, he would have had access to the same intelligence since he receives the President’s Daily Brief.A Biden transition official told CNN that while they would not speak to the alleged in