By accusing China of hacking, the US is trying to draw away attention from the most advanced cyber army at its disposal
Charges and countercharges between the United States and China over cybersecurity have increased in recent times. The US administration and private cybersecurity companies both have blamed China for the rising threat to American cyberspace.
Delivering a speech at the Asia Society in New York on March 11, US National Security Advisor Tom Donilon urged China to "take serious steps to investigate (into) and put a stop" to cyberattacks launched "from within China" against American websites. Donilon also asked China to engage with the US in a constructive direct dialogue to establish acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace. "The United States and China, the world's two largest economies, both dependent on the Internet, must lead the way in addressing this problem," he said.
In response, Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said during a recent briefing that China is willing to hold constructive dialogue and cooperation with the international community, including the US, on the issue to maintain the security, openness and peace of the Internet. But the dialogue and cooperation should be based on the principle of mutual respect and trust.
Building mutual trust, however, is the responsibility of Beijing and Washington both. This means the US, too, should "take serious steps to investigate (into) and put a stop" to hacking of Chinese sites by people from within the US, and hold dialogue with China to establish acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace.
So is the US willing to engage in constructive cooperation in cybersecurity with China on an equal footing?
Cyberattacks against US interests are launched from all over the world, and those that Washington suspects originate in China have not been conducted with government support. The Chinese government has repeatedly said that it has no "cyber army" and has never launched attacks on US networks.
Besides, not all the attacks originating from China are carried out by Chinese nationals. Foreigners, including Americans, could also use China as a base to hack US sites. Nevertheless, the Chinese government should intensify its crackdown on hacking, no matter who are the behind-the-scene players.