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Irresponsible Pentagon

China Daily | Updated: 2013-05-08 08:01

It is inappropriate as well as unacceptable for the United States Department of Defense to point an accusing finger at China over the Diaoyu Islands dispute and make false accusations against China over cybersecurity.

The Pentagon's irresponsible claims will cast a shadow on military-to-military ties between the two countries, which have been steadily improving.

The Pentagon's annual report on China, which was released on Monday, said that China began "using improperly drawn straight baseline claims" around the Diaoyu Islands in September, which is "inconsistent with international law".

Such rhetoric alone blatantly encroaches on China's sovereignty and territorial integrity. China holds irrefutable evidence for its sovereignty over the disputed islands, and its announcement of the base points and baselines of the territorial waters of the islands and their affiliated islets is fully justified and lawful.

Japan has been raising tensions with China over the islands, and the US' stance could have a negative impact on regional stability, as it could embolden increasingly right-winged Japanese politicians to go even further with unwarranted territorial and military provocations.

The US has said on many occasions that it does not take sides in the Diaoyu Islands disputes, but the Pentagon report lays bare the US' inconsistency in its position. As China takes territorial integrity as a core interest, it would be a miscalculation to think that China will compromise its territorial integrity under pressure from the outside.

In another move that has aroused China's indignation, the Pentagon report wrongly accuses the Chinese government and military of backing cyberattacks in 2012 against computer systems around the world, including those owned by the US government. It also unfairly criticizes China's military for obtaining key US national security technologies and controlled equipment through espionage. Yet the report has no evidence to support these allegations.

Like the US, China is also a victim of cyberattacks. With computer technologies evolving so fast, such attacks are difficult to trace, and China has repeatedly said computer hacking is an emerging global security threat. The US attributing the attacks to China can only be politically motivated.

The Pentagon should be aware that making China a scapegoat will not help it address its cybersecurity concerns. Beijing has said it is willing to cooperate with Washington in addressing cybersecurity issues, but such unwarranted accusations do not create a healthy environment for collaboration.

(China Daily 05/08/2013 page8)

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