March 12, 2013
China offered on Tuesday to talk with the United States about cyber security amid an escalating war of words between the two sides on computer hacking, but suspicion is as deep in Beijing as it is in Washington about the accusations and counter-accusations.
The world’s two leading economies have been squaring off for months over the issue of cyber attacks, each accusing the other of hacking into sensitive government and corporate websites.
A U.S. computer security company said last month that a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks mostly targeting the United States.
On Monday, U.S. National Security Advisor Tom Donilon called on China to acknowledge the scope of the problem and enter a dialogue with the United States on ways to establish acceptable behavior.
China, in response, said it was happy to talk.
“China is willing, on the basis of the principles of mutual respect and mutual trust, to have constructive dialogue and cooperation on this issue with the international community including the United States to maintain the security, openness and peace of the Internet”, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chuying said at a daily news briefing.
“Internet security is a global issue. In fact, China is a marginalized group in this regard, and one of the biggest victims of hacking attacks,” she added, echoing a common refrain from Chinese officials.
Two major Chinese military websites, including that of the Defence Ministry, were subject to more than 140,000 hacking attacks a month last year, almost two-thirds from the United States, the ministry said last month.
Senior People’s Liberation Army officers interviewed at the ongoing annual meeting of China’s largely rubber-stamp parliament repeated government denials of having anything to do with hacking.