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U.S. accuses China of cyber-espionage at Pentagon

By Catholic Online (NEWS CONSORTIUM)
May 7th, 2013
Catholic Online (www.catholic.org)

For the very first time, the United States is accusing China of cyber-espionage at the Pentagon. Officials say that China is trying to acquire technology to fuel its military modernization. The accusation has prompted a firm denial from Beijing.

LOS ANGELES, CA (Catholic Online) - The Pentagon, in its 83-page annual report to Congress on Chinese military developments reported progress in Beijing's effort to develop advanced-technology stealth aircraft, as well as build an aircraft carrier fleet to project power further offshore.

China's snooping was declared a "serious concern" that pointed to an even greater threat as "skills required for these intrusions are similar to those necessary to conduct computer network attacks.

"The U.S. government continued to be targeted for (cyber) intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military," the report read. The report also added that the main purpose of the hacking was to gain information to benefit defense industries, military planners and government leaders.

The event was the first time the annual Pentagon report had cited Beijing for targeting U.S. defense networks, a spokeswoman said. China has dismissed the report as groundless.

According to Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, the U.S. Defense Department had repeatedly "made irresponsible comments about China's normal and justified defense build-up and hyped up the so-called China military threat.

"This is not beneficial to U.S. - China mutual trust and cooperation," Hua told reporters. "We are firmly opposed to this and have already made representations to the U.S. side." Hua added that China's defense build-up was geared towards protecting its "national independence and sovereignty."

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."

One senior U.S. defense official says that his main concern 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," Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense for East Asia David Helvey told a Pentagon briefing on the report.

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

Beijing has had ongoing territorial disputes with the Philippines, Japan and other neighbors.

The report also highlighted China's continuing efforts to gain access to sophisticated military technology to fuel its modernization program, such as "state-sponsored industrial and technical espionage to increase the level of technologies and expertise available to support military research, development and acquisition."

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