China dismisses US cyber-espionage claims

7 May 2013
By Edd Gent
Mobile version
Share |
An US report has accused the Chinese of using cyber-espionage to steal military secrets

An US report has accused the Chinese of using cyber-espionage to steal military secrets

China has dismissed the US’s “groundless accusations” of using cyber-espionage to acquire military technology.

The Pentagon accused the Chinese of trying to break into US defence computer networks to fuel their military modernisation program for the first time yesterday, prompting a firm denial from Beijing.

In its 83-page annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments, the Pentagon also cited progress in Beijing's effort to develop advanced-technology stealth aircraft and build an aircraft carrier fleet to project power further offshore.

The report said China's cyber-spying was a "serious concern" that pointed to an even greater threat because the "skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks."

"The US government continued to be targeted for (cyber) intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," it noted, adding the main purpose of the hacking was to gain information to benefit defence industries, military planners and government leaders.

A spokeswoman said it was the first time the annual Pentagon report had cited Beijing for targeting US defence networks, but China dismissed the report as groundless.

The US Defense Department had repeatedly "made irresponsible comments about China's normal and justified defence build-up and hyped up the so-called China military threat," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

"This is not beneficial to US-China mutual trust and cooperation," Hua told reporters. "We are firmly opposed to this and have already made representations to the US side."

China's defence build-up was geared towards protecting its "national independence and sovereignty," Hua said.

On the accusations of hacking, Hua said: "We firmly oppose any groundless criticism and hype, because groundless hype and criticism will only harm bilateral efforts at cooperation and dialogue."

Despite concerns over the intrusions, a senior US defence official said his main worry was the lack of transparency.

"What concerns me is the extent to which China's military modernization occurs in the absence of the type of openness and transparency that others are certainly asking of China," David Helvey, deputy assistant secretary of defence for East Asia, told a Pentagon briefing on the report.

He warned of the "potential implications and consequences of that lack of transparency on the security calculations of others in the region."

The annual China report, which Congress began requesting in 2000, comes amid on-going tensions in the region due to China's military assertiveness and claims of sovereignty over islands and shoals involved in territorial disputes with the Philippines, Japan and other neighbours.

Beijing's publicly announced defence spending has grown at an inflation-adjusted pace of nearly 10 per cent annually over the past decade, but Helvey said China's actual outlays were thought to be higher.

China announced a 10.7 per cent increase in military spending to $114bn in March, the Pentagon report said. Publicly announced defence spending for 2012 was $106bn, but actual spending for 2012 could range between $135bn and $215bn, it said. US defence spending is more than double that, at more than $500bn.

The report highlighted China's continuing efforts to gain access to sophisticated military technology to fuel its modernization program.

It cited a laundry list of methods, including "state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage to increase the level of technologies and expertise available to support military research, development and acquisition."

Dean Cheng, an analyst at the conservative Heritage Foundation think tank, said he was surprised by the number of cases of human espionage cited in the report.

"This is a PLA (People's Liberation Army) that is extensively, comprehensively modernizing," Cheng said. "China is also comprehensively engaging in espionage."

China tested its second advanced stealth fighter in as many years in October 2012, highlighting its "continued ambition to produce advanced fifth-generation fighter aircraft," the report said.

Neither aircraft of its stealth aircraft was expected to achieve effective operational capability before 2018, it said.

Last year also saw China commission its first domestically produced aircraft carrier. China currently has one aircraft carrier bought abroad and conducted its first take-off and landing from the ship in November.

Latest Issue

E&T cover image 1605

"We visit Barcelona, one of the smartest cities in the world, to find out what makes it so special. What does it look like and what is the future?"

E&T jobs

  • High Voltage Engineer

    Premium job

    Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment
    • Great Dunmow, Essex

    This High Voltage Engineer will provide design leadership for high voltage cable assemblies up to one megavolt.

    • Recruiter: Essex X-Ray & Medical Equipment

    Apply for this job

  • Sales Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Precision Microdrives
    • London (Greater)
    • £25,000 - £30,000 starting salary, inclusive of on-target commissions.

    Precision Microdrives (PMD) is a fast growing technology company that designs, produces and trades miniature electro-mechanical mechanisms

    • Recruiter: Precision Microdrives

    Apply for this job

  • Analogue Electronics Engineer

    Premium job

    Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)
    • Uppsala (Stad) (SE)

    The Swedish Institute of Space Institute (IRF) in Uppsala search for an analogue electronics engineer.

    • Recruiter: Swedish Institute of Space Physics (IRF)

    Apply for this job

  • Principal Robotic Systems Engineer

    Premium job

    National Oceanographic Centre
    • Southampton, Hampshire
    • £45,271 to £49,207 per annum

    Responsible for technical oversight and project management of internally and externally funded innovation centre projects.

    • Recruiter: National Oceanographic Centre

    Apply for this job

  • Smart Grid Research Engineer

    Premium job

    University of Strathclyde
    • Cumbernauld, Glasgow
    • Grade: 6/7* £26,537 - £37,768*

    Work as part of a growing dynamic team on a wide range of technical projects with particular emphasis on experimental validation and testing

    • Recruiter: University of Strathclyde

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Engineer - Water

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Peterborough, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful Water and Environment Unit is recruiting an electrical engineer....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Electrical Design Engineer

    Premium job

    Mott MacDonald
    • Cambridge, Cambridgeshire

    Mott MacDonald's highly successful water business continues to win and deliver a fantastic amount of work....

    • Recruiter: Mott MacDonald

    Apply for this job

  • Senior Electronics Engineer

    York Instruments
    • York, North Yorkshire

    Senior electronics engineer to work as part of a team developing an MEG imaging system; working with the engineering team and external contractors.

    • Recruiter: York Instruments

    Apply for this job

  • Field Application Engineer

    Intel
    • Madrid

    Responsible for giving product presentations to the customer describing how Intel products provide the optimum solution to their application.

    • Recruiter: Intel

    Apply for this job

  • Control Engineer

    Bank of England
    • Debden
    • Competitive

    We’re looking for a qualified engineer with experience of computer programming for engineering systems and instrumentation.

    • Recruiter: Bank of England

    Apply for this job

More jobs ▶

Subscribe

Choose the way you would like to access the latest news and developments in your field.

Subscribe to E&T