China’s military yesterday denied renewed US accusations of sponsoring cyberattacks and called for cooperation against the global threat of computer crime.
The accusations in the latest Pentagon report on the Chinese military are “irresponsible and harmful to the mutual trust” between the two countries, Senior Colonel Wang Xinjun, a People’s Liberation Army (PLA) researcher, was quoted by Xinhua news agency as saying.
“The Chinese government and armed forces have never sanctioned hacking activities,” said Wang, who is based at the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, one of the PLA’s main think tanks.
The military frequently uses academics as alternative spokesmen.
The annual Pentagon report released on Monday included for the first time the accusation that at least some attacks on US government and other computer systems appeared to be “attributable directly” to the Chinese government and military. It said China is using its cybercapabilities to collect intelligence against US diplomatic, economic and defense programs, and is developing the skills needed to conduct cyberwarfare.
The new wording in the report continues an escalating effort by US officials to call out the Chinese on the cyberattacks and to press for a more open dialogue with Beijing on the problem.
China’s Ministry of National Defense did not immediately respond to faxed questions about the report, but has denied carrying out hacking attacks in the past.
China says it is impossible to tell the true origin of cyberattacks and accuses hostile forces in the US and elsewhere of blaming China out of prejudice or a desire to put Beijing on the defensive.
It has also called on the two sides to join forces against cyber criminals, and officials earlier this year agreed to set up a joint working group on cybercrime.
“Both China and the US are victims of cybercrimes and should work together to tackle the problems,” Wang said.