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China, Russia, N Korea, Iran threat to US: Report

Besides violent extremist groups like Al-Qaeda, America's top intelligence agency identified N Korea, Iran, China and Russia as countries which have the ability to challenge US interests in traditional and emerging ways.

world Updated: Sep 16, 2009 13:30 IST

Besides violent extremist groups like Al-Qaeda, America's top intelligence agency identified N Korea, Iran, China and Russia as countries which have the ability to challenge US interests in traditional and emerging ways.

The 2009 National Intelligence Strategy, released yesterday, by the Director of National Intelligence, said that Iran poses an array of challenges to US security objectives in the Middle East and beyond because of its nuclear and missile programmes, supports of terrorism, and provision of lethal aid to US and coalition adversaries.

North Korea continues to threaten peace and security in East Asia because of its sustained pursuit of nuclear and ballistic missile capabilities, its transfer of these capabilities to third parties, its erratic behaviour, and its large conventional military capability, it said.

Although China shares many interests with United States, but its increasing natural resource-focused diplomacy and military modernisation are among the factors making it a complex global challenge, said the report.

Similarly Russia is a US partner in important initiatives such as securing fissile material and combating nuclear terrorism, but it may continue to seek avenues for reasserting power and influence in ways that complicate US interests.

According to the report violent extremist groups are planning to use terrorism, including the possible use of nuclear weapons or devices if they can acquire them to attack the US.

Working in a number of regions, these groups aim to derail the rule of law, erode societal order, attack US strategic partners, and otherwise challenge US interests worldwide.

Insurgents too are attempting to destabilise vulnerable states in regions of strategic interest to the US, it said.

In a telephonic press conference, the Director of National Intelligence Dennis Blair said both China and Russia are very aggressive in the cyber world. He said the US spends some $75 billion a year on intelligence.

"In Western Pakistan, Al-Qaeda, of course, has an avowed goal of conducting attacks on the United States, it is seeking safe haven with various Taliban groups that are there in western Pakistan and eastern Afghanistan," he said.

"And these groups have more recently also said that they are in favour of attacks in the West. So it's a shifting calculus, but it's fundamentally based on the harm that they would do to the United States' troops and allies," he said.