China enraged by Pentagon’s claims it is waging new cyberwar
US report makes first explicit accusation that Beijing is hacking for military secrets
Known for his commentary on international relations and US politics, Rupert Cornwell also contributes obituaries and occasionally even a column for the sports pages. With The Independent since its launch in 1986, he was the paper's first Moscow correspondent - covering the collapse of the Soviet Union – during which time he won two British Press Awards. Previously a foreign correspondent for the Financial Times and Reuters, he has also been a diplomatic correspondent, leader writer and columnist, and has served as Washington bureau editor. In 1983 he published God's Banker, about Roberto Calvi, the Italian banker found hanging from Blackfriars Bridge.
Tuesday 07 May 2013
An unprecedented and blunt Pentagon report that accuses China of cyber-espionage aimed at extracting US military secrets has prompted a war of words between Washington and Beijing, with the latter angrily denying the accusations.
Click image above to enlarge graphic
The 83-page report marked the first time the US has explicitly accused China’s military of hacking American government computer networks, and has underscored how electronic warfare is now one of the prime elements in the growing military rivalry between the two countries. It contends that the cyber-intrusions, aimed at gathering information and at honing the ability to disrupt, are a key part of Beijing’s military strategy as it jostles with Washington for dominance in East Asia.
The computer security firm Mandiant recently identified a single agency in the People’s Liberation Army, Unit 61398, as responsible for over 140 such operations since 2006.
Predictably, the charges levelled in the Pentagon report were dismissed by the Chinese authorities, who termed them “groundless,” and “hype” that would only harm bilateral cooperation and dialogue. “This is not beneficial to US-China mutual trust and cooperation,” the Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.
Despite its accusations against China, the US is no slouch when it comes to cyberwarfare, as evidenced by the 2010 Stuxnet attacks on computers controlling Iran’s nuclear programme, believed to be a joint American/Israeli operation, and the rapid build-up of the Pentagon’s own Cyber Command.
Despite the rapid and sustained expansion of China’s armed forces, the US remains far ahead in terms of firepower and military technology. Although Beijing’s defence spending is growing by some 10 per cent annually and is described by the new report at totalling between $135bn (£87bn) and $215bn (£139bn), it is eclipsed by the US defence budget, almost $700bn (£452bn) for 2013. China, says the Pentagon, sees electronic warfare as a way to “reduce or eliminate” US advantage.
China’s military expansion – symbolised by the commissioning in 2012 of its first aircraft carrier, stepped-up spending on medium and short range missiles, and advances in stealth technology for aircraft – has long been rattling nerves in the region. Ever more assertive about territories it claims in the South China Sea and elsewhere, Beijing is embroiled in disputes with Japan, the Philippines, Vietnam and other neighbours, not to mention the island of Taiwan which China has always considered its own. The Chinese government, says the Pentagon, “is capable of increasingly sophisticated military action against Taiwan.”
With the Iraq war over and the Afghan conflict soon to join it, President Barack Obama announced plans in November 2011 for an American “pivot to Asia” in part to assuage US allies in the region over China’s perceived expansionism. The shift is presented by Washington in the context of ‘partnership’ with Beijing. China however is visibly less than convinced and, the Pentagon contends, has made cyber weaponry a centrepiece of its new strategy.
Evidence, the report declares, can be found in two recent public statements, entitled ‘Science of Strategy’ and ‘Science of Campaigns.’ Both are said to identify cyber-spying as “integral to achieving information superiority and countering a stronger foe.”
Some elements in the current Chinese leadership favour a more aggressive posture. But the Pentagon also notes the 1990s advice of former leader Deng Xiaoping – that China should “cope with affairs calmly, hide our capabilities and bide our time; be good at maintaining a low profile and never claim leadership.”
The magicians using online collaboration to push boundaries
Jennifer Lawrence attacks mass media again over body image
Paris charity auction staged to save the ancient city of Tyre
Jennifer Lawrence: 'It should be illegal to call someone fat on TV'
Colin Farrell reveals ‘affair’ with Elizabeth Taylor: 'She was my last romantic relationship'
Ian Watkins: Paedophile Lostprophets singer sentenced to 35 years for child sex offences, as judge labels him a 'dangerous sexual predator'
Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
Devyani Khobragade: India-US row escalates over arrest of diplomat in New York
Exclusive: Young people ‘want UK to stay in Europe’: Four in 10 adults aged 18 to 24 are ‘firmly in favour’ of membership, poll shows
Fox News presenter tells viewers it is a 'fact' that both Jesus and Santa Claus are white
You can STILL be jailed for being a republican, government confirms, and it remains illegal to even 'imagine' overthrowing the Queen
Kiss and yell: Italian protester charged with sexual assault after kissing riot police officer
Fighting back: the woman giving a voice (and 49,999 others) to the victims of sexism - by giving an airing to their horror stories
PM denies two child limit for benefits is part of Tory welfare policy
- 1 America's 'virgin births'? One in 200 mothers 'became pregnant without having sex'
- 2 Sun will 'flip upside down' within weeks, says Nasa
- 4 Christmas comes early: Justin Bieber announces he's 'retiring from music'
- 5 Children evacuated from swimming pool after prosthetic leg mistaken for paedophile
- < Previous
- Next >
£25000 - £32000 per annum: Harrington Starr: Junior Business Analyst - Banking...
£21999 - £27001 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Do you have exten...
£25000 - £35000 per annum + benefits + bonus: Harrington Starr: Business Analy...
£42000 - £51000 per annum + Benefits: Pro-Recruitment Group: Are You Receiving...