China’s reliable go-to rejoinder to all accusations of nefarious international behavior is straight-up denial delivered in the shrillest tones of shocked and aggrieved outrage, and their reaction to yesterday’s report that the Chinese government is behind the recent round of dangerous cyber-intrusion into the United States’ advanced weapons systems was pretty much the same drill. WaPo follows up:
China on Wednesday again denied that it has used cyberattacks to steal American military and business secrets, following new accusations leveled this week.
“China opposes all forms of cyberattacks. China is also a victim of hacking,” said Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang during a press briefing previewing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Obama next week. Zheng noted that China and the United States have agreed to set up a working group to regularly discuss the issue.
The White House has said Obama will raise the issue at next week’s meeting, but Chinese officials responded to questions about it Wednesday with the same talking points it has long used on the subject.
Really, guys? Yes, China is home to a robust culture of private and commercial hacking, and no doubt they have both homegrown and foreign hackers trying to get into their own government systems — but they are conveniently skirting the issue that a huge gaping swath of the recent infiltration into the United States’ defense systems is directly attributable to the Chinese government and military (and let’s not even get started on the hundreds of millions of dollars in intellectual property theft coming out of the communist country).
This is about the large-scale, coordinated, and systematic assaults on the United States’ military infrastructure that would be all too handy-dandy for the Chinese regime to have some information on, especially considering President Obama’s proclaimed foreign-policy “pivot to Asia.” I suppose denial is indeed the best tactic at this point, given that there are really no sanctions or costs or diplomatic actions with which to disincentivize cyber-intruders, but it’s going to be a brave new world of trying to nail down some enforcement on this issue:
President Barack Obama will discuss cyber security with Chinese President Xi Jinping during a meeting in California next week, as Washington becomes increasingly worried about Chinese hacking of U.S. military networks.
“Cyber security is a key priority of this administration. It is a key concern that we have,” White House spokesman Jay Carney told reporters on Air Force One as Obama flew to New Jersey.
“It is an issue that we raise at every level in our meetings with our Chinese counterparts, and I’m sure it will be a topic of discussion when the president meets with President Xi in California in early June,” he said.