The head of MI6 has thanked China for “unexpected free publicity” after the country mocked him in a state news James Bond spoof video.
Richard Moore, who became the chief of Britain’s Secret Intelligence Service in October 2020, said in a speech last year that a rising China was the agency’s “single greatest priority” for the first time in its history.
In his address, Mr Moore, codenamed C, accused China of getting “people on the hook” in Africa and elsewhere by forcing smaller countries to take on onerous borrowing in return for building vital infrastructure or seizing control of their data to supply essential services.
However, in a four-minute video posted to Twitter on Tuesday, China’s Xinhua News lampooned the MI6 chief’s warnings with a sketch featuring a pair of British spies, James Pond and Black Window.
Xinhua said the video, No Time to Die Laughing, was “leaked footage” of a “secret meeting” between British spies and their US counterparts, describing the clip as “rib-tickling”.
*** LEAKED VIDEO ***
“Secret Meeting” between MI6 Agent 0.07 and the @CIA after @ChiefMI6 Richard Moore made China the agency’s top priority.
Rib-tickling moments… pic.twitter.com/rd6ZMM3neV
— China Xinhua News (@XHNews) January 4, 2022
The video shows the two elegantly dressed agents entering a lavish country house and discussing a dossier on Chinese espionage tactics, with canned laughter run throughout.
The agents in the video thank M, the Bond films’ moniker for the head of MI6, for hyping up the Chinese threat.
Pond, described as “Agent 0.07”, says: “You know what’s pathetic? Using the fictional Chinese debt trap and data trap to secure our massive budget for next year,” while holding a glass of champagne to toast the agency’s success.
In reply to the video Moore tweeted: “Thank you for your interest (and the unexpected free publicity),” and he posted a copy of the speech he gave in November that had provoked Xinhua’s response.
Another feature of the Xinhua video is the claim that it is not China that is tapping phones around the world, but the US which Pond learns from a call with a fictional CIA agent that his phone is being monitored by the Americans.
“He’s obviously shaken and stirred now,” Black Window says in an aside to the camera.
“To be America’s enemy is dangerous. But to be America’s friend is fatal,” Pond declares.