US rebuked over hacking remarks

Updated: 2015-09-12 08:25

By Mo Jingxi(China Daily)

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'Cybersecurity should be a point of cooperation, not a source of friction,' Foreign Ministry says

Beijing rebuked Washington's accusations of Chinese hacking on Friday, with Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei calling them "groundless".

"Cybersecurity should be a point of cooperation between China and the United States, instead of the source of friction," Hong said at a regular news conference in Beijing.

The remarks came after a top US intelligence official claimed that Chinese hackers continue to carry out "low-to moderate-level cyberattacks" that target US interests, ranging from national security information to sensitive economic data and intellectual property.

James Clapper, director of national intelligence, told the US Congress on Thursday that Washington should beef up efforts to raise the cost and risk for Chinese cyberespionage.

Recently, some US officials and organizations have been pressuring China by implying it is responsible for threats to cybersecurity.

"Some people on the US side should stop the groundless accusations against China," Hong said, noting that China is also the victim of cyberattacks.

He also called for dialogue and cooperation between Beijing and Washington to promote the establishment of a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace.

Fu Mengzi, vice-president of the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said Washington is putting pressure on China with the accusations ahead of President Xi Jinping's visit to the US this month.

"However, Washington should establish a sense of cooperation on this issue, instead of accusing Beijing with non-existent excuses," he said.

A poll released by the Pew Research Center on Wednesday found that among the variety of issues that US citizens see in relationship to China, cyberattacks from China ranked third.

Eighty-six percent of those surveyed listed it as "a somewhat or very serious concern".

Tao Wenzhao, a senior researcher at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said the key to relieving such worries and avoiding a war of words over cybersecurity is to set up a global mechanism that regulates the behavior of all countries.

"The Internet is growing so fast nowadays, but there is no certain mechanism that could govern its development. This requires concerted efforts from the international community," Tao said.

The two countries should step up communication and work together toward this goal, he said.

Meanwhile, the ministry spokesman also said at the news conference that preliminary verification showed that a Chinese citizen who has been missing abroad matches the description of a man reportedly held hostage by the Islamic State extremist group.

The IS announced in the latest issue of its English-language magazine that it held two hostages, one Chinese and one Norwegian, and it asked for unspecified ransom for their release.

"After learning about the situation, the Chinese departments concerned have launched an emergency response mechanism and started work in this regard," Hong said, reaffirming the Chinese government's opposition to any kind of violent attacks against innocent civilians.

(China Daily 09/12/2015 page3)