Good morning, and welcome to the Global Situation Report for Tuesday, 13 June 2023.
- FIRST UP: Americans should prepare for cyber attacks, CISA says
- Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA) Director Jen Easterly said on Monday that Americans should prepare cyber attacks in a crisis or conflict with China, because “it’s going to be very difficult to prevent disruptions from happening.”
- Easterly added that cyber attacks on U.S. critical infrastructure is a “real threat that we need to be prepared for.”
Why It Matters: According to U.S. officials, China is likely to carry out preemptive cyber attacks before military operations against Taiwan, or an imminent conflict with the United States. Primary targets include U.S. infrastructure associated with the military, and information and communication systems. This is a gentle reminder that a war with China won’t just be an “over there” problem. – M.S.
- SOMETHING’S OUT THERE: South Korean, Chinese in race to recover North Korean satellite payload
- Chinese warships are searching the waters off South Korea where a North Korean rocket crashed last month. The rocket was reportedly carrying a surveillance satellite payload.
- South Korea has reportedly already salvaged some of the wreckage.
Why It Matters: Recovery of the satellite payload would be an intelligence bonanza for South Korea that sheds light on the state of North Korea’s satellite technology. China may be interested because the satellite payload could contain sensitive technology that it has shared with North Korea. – M.M.
- LATAM: Honduras, China establish deeper ties
- Following the diplomatic shift from Taiwan to Beijing in March, Honduras is developing closer economic ties and business relationships with China.
- Honduran President Xiomara Castro Sarmiento is in Beijing this week for talks with Chinese President Xi Jinping, who said that China is committed to a long-term relationship with Honduras.
Why It Matters: Honduras is being lured into China’s sphere of influence by economic opportunities, although there are likely ideological reasons for the Honduran shift towards Beijing. President Xiomara Castro is a democratic socialist with ties to the far left. The growing Chinese alignment of left wing governments across Latin America is reminiscent of the Cold War. – M.S.
- LIVE FIRE IN THE EAST CHINA SEA: China announced live-fire naval drills on Tuesday in the East China Sea
- The drills are set to take place just north of Taiwan and will conclude Tuesday evening.
- China also plans a second set of live-fire naval exercises for Wednesday.
Why It Matters: China normally conducts its military live-fire exercises along the Chinese coastline. These drills are closer to Taiwan’s coastline, and likely represent an opportunity for China’s naval forces to train in their most likely future conflict zone. – M.M.
- DEDOLLARIZATION: Pakistan makes oil payments in Chinese RMB
- Pakistan paid for its first government-to-government Russian oil import deal using Chinese renminbi instead of U.S. dollars.
- The oil was delivered via the port of Karachi, an increasingly important destination.
Why It Matters: Pakistan is most likely using Chinese RMB out of necessity due to dwindling foreign reserves, and also because Russia wants to accept RMB. This is also probably a case of Gresham’s Law – entities will use less valuable currencies (RMB) in order to conserve more valuable currencies (USD). – M.S.
THAT’S A WRAP: This does it for today’s edition. Thank you for reading. If you know folks who would also like to receive this email, would you please forward it to them? We appreciate you spreading the word. – M.S.
M.M. indicates commentary from Max Morton, a retired Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel and former CIA Paramilitary Operations Officer
M.S. indicates commentary from Mike Shelby, a former Intelligence NCO and founder/CEO of Forward Observer