(By Deutsche Welle) For the first time, Washington has directly accused Beijing of conducting cyber espionage against the Pentagon. The attacks were allegedly aimed at gathering intelligence on US defense programs.
Beijing has denied US allegations that the Chinese military was conducting cyber espionage against the Pentagon, claiming instead that Washington was trying to sensationalize China’s military buildup as a national security threat.
“The Chinese government and armed forces have never sanctioned hacking activities,” Senior Colonel Wang Xinjun, a researcher at the Academy of Military Sciences in Beijing, told the official Xinhau news agency. The academy is a high-level research institute affiliated with the People’s Liberation Army (PLA).
In its annual report on China’s ongoing military buildup, the US Defense Department had claimed on Monday that some recent breaches of American government-owned computer networks were “attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.”
“These intrusions were focused on exfiltrating information,” The Pentagon said in its report. “China is using its computer network exploitation (CNE) capability to support intelligence collection against the U.S. diplomatic, economic, and defense industrial base sectors that support US national defense programs.”
China’s Foreign Ministry, for its part, called the US allegations of cyber espionage “irresponsible,” saying that China’s defense buildup was “legitimate and normal.”
“China is committed to a path of peaceful development and pursues a defensive defense policy,” said Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hu Chunying, adding that Beijing “resolutely oppose[s] any form of hacking attacks.”