The CIA is creating a top-level working group on China as part of a broad US government effort focused on countering Beijing’s influence.

The group named the China Mission Center will become one of several mission centres operated by the CIA, with weekly director-level meetings intended to drive the agency’s strategy toward China.

The CIA also announced that it would ramp up efforts to recruit Chinese speakers and create another mission centre focusing on emerging technologies and global issues such as climate change and global health.

President Joe Biden’s administration has called out what it says is Chinese aggression on a range of security and economic issues while also seeking common ground on issues like climate change and a nuclear-armed North Korea.

Top administration officials have repeatedly signalled a shift of resources toward “great power” competition with China while maintaining a focus on counterterrorism.

China is an especially difficult challenge for the US intelligence community given the insularity of the Chinese leadership, its large military and security services and its development in advanced technologies that can counter spying.