Ahead of a major summit between the leaders of the US and China, the latter’s President Xi Jinping has denied accusations that his government engages in cyber espionage for commercial gain, claiming his country is the victim.
Susan Rice, a US national security adviser, spoke out about alleged Chinese interests in commercial hacking on Monday, claiming the Asian giant’s cyber activities place “enormous strain” on bilateral relations.
Rice was speaking at a college in the US, taking the time to criticise the role she, and many, feel that China has played in recent instances of cyber espionage.
China hack, a storied history
Recent instances include an apparent breach at US Airlines, the Anthem hack during the summer and a major US governmental office was compromised late last year.
The latter saw up to 25m people’s personal information stolen after the Office of Personnel Management had its servers breached.
That story has rumbled on ever since, with a new Pentagon breach reported last month.
China, though, has defended itself throughout, with President Xi’s latest remarks as emphatic as ever.
‘Nothing to do with us’
Speaking to the Wall Street Journal, he said his government isn’t to blame and that it “does not engage in theft of commercial secrets in any form, nor does it encourage or support Chinese companies to engage in such practices in any way”.
“China takes cybersecurity very seriously,” he said. “China is also a victim of hacking. China and the United States share common concerns on cybersecurity. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with the U.S. side on this issue.”
It is believed that this topic will dominate the upcoming meeting between Xi and US President Barack Obama later this week, and it’s not a new topic between the duo.
Big talks await
“In his meetings with President Xi, President Obama has repeatedly made plain that state-sponsored, cyber-enabled economic espionage must stop,” said Rice. “This isn’t a mild irritation.”
“It is an economic and national security concern to the United States.
“Cyber-enabled espionage that targets personal and corporate information for the economic gain of businesses undermines our long-term economic cooperation, and it needs to stop.”
Yesterday it emerged that the US and China are seeking to sign a deal that would prohibit the two countries from engaging in cyberattacks against critical infrastructure during peace time.
In a vague kite that seems to have been floated from the US, it looks like corporation hacking will remain fair game, and the agreement will largely relate to governmental institutions.
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