On Monday, The United States pinned five Chinese military officers wanted for cyber espionage, onto the FBI’s most wanted list.
China called upon newly minted US Ambassador to China Max Baucus on Tuesday, demanding an explanation for the accusations. The former Senator from Montana confirmed he had a meeting with China’s assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang late monday after the Most Wanted press release surfaced. “The Chinese government and military and its associated personnel have never conducted or participated in the theft of trade secrets over the Internet,” said Zheng.
US officials also worried that if China’s espionage activities continued, it would result in a loss of American jobs.
The five Chinese nationals listed were accused of hacking into American solar, nuclear, and metal companies to steal intellectual property and trade secrets. Zheng “protested the charges, promising China “will take further action on the so-called charges by the United States”.
Previously, United States policy makers had not overtly charged individual Chinese government officials with espionage efforts.
Congressmen James Langevin (D-RI), who sits on the House Intelligence Committee, praised the move. “This is far different than the spy-versus-spy espionage that dates back to ancient history,” he said through a spokeswoman. “This is the systematic, methodical, and wholesale theft of corporate property for economic advantage by a country. It is absolutely unacceptable behavior, and this form of economic warfare needs to be combatted aggressively,” said the Congressman.
“If the case is not withdrawn, I expect the Chinese government to retaliate,” said Jin Canrong, a professor of International Studies at Renmin University in Beijing.
China released a report Tuesday countering the US narrative, insinuating that the United States commits “Cyber Attacks” on China. Chinese state-media outlet XInhua accused the United States of being the “biggest attacker of China’s cyber space.” The report claimed the US took control of over 1.2 million of China’s computers, resulting in a loss of Chinese trade secrets.
The report continued:
Latest data from the National Computer Network Emergency Response Technical Team Coordination Center of China (NCNERTTCC) showed that from March 19 to May 18, a total of 2,077 Trojan horse networks or botnet servers in the U.S. directly controlled 1.18 million host computers in China. The NCNERTTCC found 135 host computers in the U.S. carrying 563 phishing pages targeting Chinese websites that led to 14,000 phishing operations. In the same period, the center found 2,016 IP addresses in the U.S. had implanted backdoors in 1,754 Chinese websites, involving 57,000 backdoor attacks.
According to China’s Foreign Ministry, the US-China “working group”, originally created to defuse tensions on matters of cyber security, has been suspended.