Canada considers China, Russia as top concern to its national security: Report

Canada's National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians alleged that China, Russia, and Iran targeted country's COVID-19 vaccine research.

Canada considers China, Russia as top concern to its national security: Report
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Ottawa: China is one of Canada`s chief national security concerns, the country`s National Security and Intelligence Committee of Parliamentarians (NSICOP) said on Monday in a report. The other chief threat to Canada`s national security also includes Russia, the report said.

"Foreign states are increasingly targeting Canada`s science and technology sector, in which Canada is recognized as a world leader. CSIS assesses that foreign threat actors represent a significant threat to Canada`s long-term economic and national security interests. These actors use a combination of traditional and non-traditional intelligence collection methods to access expertise, data, and organizations," the report read.

According to Sputnik, the parliamentary committee alleges that China, Russia, and Iran targeted Canada`s COVID-19 vaccine research, despite not a single vaccine candidate from the country advancing to the clinical trial phase." China uses "talent programs" and academic exchanges to exploit Canadian expertise.

Its Thousand Talents Program, established in 2008 to encourage Chinese scientists abroad to bring their research to China, is currently under investigation by the U.S. Justice Department," the parliamentary report read. The report also stated that espionage related to science and technology and, specifically, to vaccine development for COVID-19, has increased during the pandemic.

Research networks in the United States, Canada, and the United Kingdom have been targeted by intelligence collection efforts of China, Russia, and Iran. The parliamentary report comes as an overwhelming majority of Canadians say there can be no improvement in bilateral relations with China until two of their compatriots held in detention in the country are released, an Angus Reid Institute poll has revealed in March this year.

Sino-Canadian relations soured after the arrest of Meng Wanzhou, who was detained in Vancouver in 2018 at the request of the United States and two Canadian nationals in China - former diplomat Michael Kovrig and businessman Michael Spavor - on charges of espionage and have been further exacerbated by Ottawa`s condemnation of Beijing`s national security law implemented in Hong Kong and alleged human rights abuses in Xinjiang province.

Both Beijing and Ottawa view the detention of their nationals as a political incident. Chinese officials have claimed that Canada`s deference to US foreign policy served as a catalyst for the growing diplomatic rift. 

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