Norway recently released its 2022 public threat and risk assessment report, which points out that China already has the will and ability to intervene in the political process of Western countries. The report’s assessment of domestic threats in Norway focuses specifically on the use of Chinese and Russian intelligence tools, operations against Norwegian computer networks, the spread of military technology, strategic acquisitions and influence, and the emergence of extreme environments with anti-state and conspiracy theories.
The report was released by the Norwegian Intelligence Service (NIS), Norwegian Police Security Service (PST), and Norwegian National Security Service (NSM) on Feb. 12, in which it lists the internal and external threats Norway is facing.
Norwegian Defense Minister Odd Roger Enoksen said that “national security interests are being challenged both directly and indirectly across all sectors and areas of society.
“Norway faces a challenge as China attempts to change the international security architecture to combat Western unity and seize intellectual and strategic advantage without creating direct armed conflict.”
The report points out that under the challenges of foreign intelligence agencies, Norway could face serious consequences, including compromised freedom of movement, reduced national capacity to deal with crises, reduced commercial and industrial competitiveness. Furthermore, the Defense Minister points out that China is good at using fake accounts in social media to counter criticism and that Norwegian society, which is highly digitized, is particularly vulnerable in such situations.
Enoksen said, “As a small state, Norway is in an exposed position, and our competitive industrial sector and business expertise are of interest to others.
“We live in one of the world’s most digitalised societies, which makes us vulnerable.”
China’s proclaimed goal is to become technologically independent of the West and dominate in emerging technologies such as artificial intelligence and quantum technology. Beijing has also emphasized the value of data as an input factor to the digital economy.
The Communist Party’s control of the state apparatus and corporations, combined with the absence of strictly applied laws, means that the Party can effectively mobilize actors outside of traditional diplomacy to work toward foreign policy goals. As a result, organizations and companies alike must let the Chinese regime’s foreign policy goals lead overseas activities.
In addition, a range of security laws ensures that all social actors can be ordered to assist China’s intelligence efforts, including industrial and refugee espionage. Furthermore, Chinese security services can use Chinese companies, academic institutions, and other actors for intelligence activities outside China.
The extraterritorial effect of these laws puts increased pressure on overseas Chinese, and Beijing’s ambition to increase its influence in multilateral forums will also lead to increased intelligence and influence activities against international organizations and foreign countries.
In addition, the military-civilian integration strategy leads to the blurring of the boundaries of military-civilian activities. Civilian personnel in business and academia are rewarded for contributing to the development of military-applied technology.
Increasing great power competition has reinforced polarization, and smaller countries like Norway are constantly asked to take positions on international conflicts, putting pressure on governments and private businesses.