China says willing to discuss cyber security with the U.S.

BEIJING Tue Mar 12, 2013 6:17am EDT

Part of the building of 'Unit 61398', a secretive Chinese military unit, is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai February 19, 2013. REUTERS/Carlos Barria

Part of the building of 'Unit 61398', a secretive Chinese military unit, is seen in the outskirts of Shanghai February 19, 2013.

Credit: Reuters/Carlos Barria

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BEIJING (Reuters) - China offered on Tuesday to talk with the United States about cyber security amid an escalating war of words between the two sides on computer hacking, but suspicion is as deep in Beijing as it is in Washington about the accusations and counter-accusations.

The world's two leading economies have been squaring off for months over the issue of cyber attacks, each accusing the other of hacking into sensitive government and corporate websites.

A U.S. computer security company said last month that a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks mostly targeting the United States.

On Monday, U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon called on China to acknowledge the scope of the problem and enter a dialogue with the United States on ways to establish acceptable behavior.

China, in response, said it was happy to talk.

"China is willing, on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and mutual trust, to have constructive dialogue and cooperation on this issue with the international community including the United States to maintain the security, openness and peace of the Internet", Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying said at a daily news briefing.

"Internet security is a global issue. In fact, China is a marginalized group in this regard, and one of the biggest victims of hacking attacks," she added, echoing a common refrain from Chinese officials.

Two major Chinese military websites, including that of the Defence Ministry, were subject to more than 140,000 hacking attacks a month last year, almost two-thirds from the United States, the ministry said last month.

Senior People's Liberation Army officers interviewed at the ongoing annual meeting of China's largely rubber-stamp parliament repeated government denials of having anything to do with hacking.

"This talk from the U.S. has no foundation whatsoever", said Maj. Gen. Liu Lianhua from the Guangzhou Military District. "And what evidence is there? There isn't any!"

Wang Hongguang, deputy commander of the PLA's Nanjing Military District, called the United States "a thief calling others a thief." But asked if China should develop its hacking capabilities for counter-attacks, Wang said: "Personally, I think we will. If the enemy has it we'll want to have it too. We must have the means at least to defend ourselves."

U.S. officials say they expect hacking to be one of the thorniest issues between Washington and Beijing in the coming months.

Chinese Foreign Minister Yang Jiechi on Saturday called cyberspace "a community of common destiny," adding: "What cyberspace needs is not war, but rules and cooperation.

"We oppose turning cyberspace into another battlefield, or using the Internet as a new tool to interfere in other countries' internal affairs," Yang said.

(Additional reporting by Cathy Zhang and Ben Blanchard; Editing by Ian Geoghegan)

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Comments (7)
sjfella wrote:
No brainer on which side to believe; neither.

Mar 12, 2013 8:25am EDT  --  Report as abuse
AdamSmith wrote:
In launching this hacking publicity campaign, Obama is doing the bidding of powerful multinational companies whose incorporation papers happened to have been filed in America. They call themselves “American” companies.

That great American icon, Exxon, for example, is incorporated in the US, but over 60% of its employees live outside the US.

Who are the shareholders behind the “American” corporations being hacked?

Any business grouping of humans sitting at a table, from tribal times to today, from small-town tiny partnerships to multinational corporations — naturally tend to say, in their meetings, “It’s us against the world.” And it is.

After all, life itself is a competitive struggle. And business is especially so.

The PROBLEM is that the populace of any given country erroneously believe that the corporations that are legally chartered in their country have Patriotic notions.

A patriotic corporation? Nothing could be further from the truth. Corporation chartered in America — like Goldman, Exxon, IBM, Apple, Intel, Google. Boeing — are legally created, by a legal document, to do what’s in the interest of their shareholders, period.

That’s why you see these American-chartered companies routinely outsourcing American jobs, selling and divulging American technology to foreign partners, selling weapons to foreign governments, importing low-wage foreign H1B Visa engineers to replace American engineers, and allowing the foreign engineers to take their newly learned skills back to their home countries to compete against America.

In short, corporations, whether American-chartered, Spanish-chartered, or Mexican-chartered, or Cayman Islands chartered, have zero patriotic notions. Patriotism is not part of the human-corporate-animal. How could we expect otherwise?

All large corporations doing business in America are not here to do the American people a favor. Rather the American people are their prey.

I think it can be often a good thing that they, the giant multinational corporations, get hacked by private hackers, seriously hacked. Otherwise their power over the common working class, their ability to drive wage rates lower and lower, to outsource, to suck the life blood out of the masses, is unlimited.

Mar 12, 2013 9:37am EDT  --  Report as abuse
CountryPride wrote:
So in other words China wants the US to share information about the attacks and the techniques that have been discovered so they know what not to use in the future and to try to develop other techniques to continue to attack. Billions in losses and years damage, now is not the time for talk. Now is the time for payback and cause some losses on their side of things as revenge!

Mar 12, 2013 10:08am EDT  --  Report as abuse
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