Denmark warned on Thursday, Jan. 13, that espionage threats from countries including China, Russia, and Iran are rising.
Anders Henriksen, head of the counterintelligence agency at the Danish Security and Intelligence Service especially highlighted China, saying the country had made enormous efforts to gain access to Denmark’s cutting-edge technology and knowledge, according to Reuters.
Henriksen’s agency noted that Denmark’s active participation in the international arena, increasing globalization and international competitiveness, the general openness of society, digitization, and a high level of technological know-how are all factors that make Denmark an attractive target for foreign intelligence activities.
Henriksen said foreign forces have tried to plant insiders, influence operations, harass, illicitly procure products and technology, and, in exceptional circumstances, even attempt assassinations.
He warned that university exchange programs had been the most common strategy for exploiting information, and that there were types of research that, even at a very early stage, can have the potential to be used for military objectives and cause troubles.
Henriksen told the Danish daily Politiken that there were 30 Denmark researchers recruited by China through its Thousand Talents Program in summer 2021.
In addition to researchers, China, Russia and Iran also target students and companies to extract confidential information on Danish technology and research.
In November 2021, Reuters reported that a Chinese scientist at the University of Copenhagen of Denmark had worked on genetic research with the Chinese military, but had not disclosed the collaboration.
A professor skipped informing the university about the Chinese government’s involvement in the research, stating that it “was not carried out for military purposes.”
But China’s government science academy declared that the research “had national defense and civilian benefits on the Tibetan plateau.”