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Motives behind charges queried

By Qin Zhongwei and Zhao Shengnan ( China Daily ) Updated: 2013-02-22 07:16:46

Motives behind charges queried

Experts say US accusations meant to halt planned defense cutbacks

The recent spate of false allegations made by the United States against China and Russia bolsters interest groups that aim to maintain Washington's military dominance and block the Obama administration's planned defense cuts, said observers.

Washington recently talked up threats from cyberspace and singled out China as its target. A report released by Internet security company Mandiant on Tuesday claimed that the Chinese military controls some of the most prolific hackers in the world and linked it to sophisticated cyberattacks on US companies.

Earlier, the US air force said two F-15 fighter jets, from Andersen Air Force Base in Guam, intercepted Russian TU-95 bombers, which circled the US island territory.

The Chinese and Russian defense ministries rejected these "groundless" accusations.

The Russian Defense Ministry said the Russian air force had no bombers on missions in the Pacific Ocean, and added that its bomber pilot training is carried out in Russia's Far East, not in the Pacific Ocean.

The Chinese Ministry of National Defense said on Tuesday and Wednesday that Chinese military has never supported hackings and the report is false as it only relies on the IP addresses that shows they originated in China.

Cyberattacks are global, anonymous and deceptive, and their true sources are not easy to identify, he said.

IP addresses alone do not provide proof of hackers' origins, or whether the government is behind them, according to Chinese information specialists.

Rather than attacking other countries, China, as official statistics show, is one of the major victims of cyberattacks. And hackings traced to the US ranked the first.

Zhai Dequan, deputy secretary-general of the China Arms Control and Disarmament Association, said that the US, in order to continue to impose its containment strategy worldwide, has singled out China, as the rising economic power, and Russia, a strong military power, as its targets.

Such moves will not help the US build good bilateral ties with other countries, said Jia Xiudong, a senior researcher at the China Institutes of International Studies.

This case once again reflected the poor mutual strategic trust between the Chinese and US militaries, as the US side always links the rumor with China every time it appears, he said.

According to documents obtained by USA Today, the US Army estimates that automatic budget cuts, scheduled to take effect on March 1, will force $15 billion in wage and spending reductions and prompt layoffs for 300,000 people nationwide.

The cuts will affect every army installation, and US states with large bases and military contractors are taking the biggest hits, according to the documents.

US President Barack Obama urged Congress on Tuesday to pass a measure to delay the automatic cuts to the defense budget for the rest of the year, which he said would do great damage to the economy.

By playing up "security threats", interest groups can make political and economic gains, said Niu Jun, a professor of US studies at Peking University.

It is unlikely that the Obama administration will maintain such a high defense budget due to the domestic economic situation, Zhai said.

"But playing up the threat is good for those weapon manufacturers in the short term, and also for the country to maintain its military presence around the world in the long run," he said.

To deal with these cyberattack allegations, there should be more dialogue, cooperation and regulation, rather than focusing on an imaginary enemy and demonizing it, said Yuan Peng, an expert on US studies at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

"But the question is whether there will be a worldwide framework and an Internet regulation that is recognized by all parties, which will be an important subject for future US-China ties," he said.

Contact the writers at zhaoshengnan@chinadaily.com.cn and qinzhongwei@chinadaily.com.cn

Xinhua contributed to this story.

(China Daily 02/22/2013 page11)

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