Global General

Sino-US cyber war not likely: Expert

(China Daily)
Updated: 2010-01-26 07:07
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China and the US will not engage in a cyber war and may even reach an agreement on Internet security. However, the Google row will bring more difficulties to their dialogues, argues a US expert.

To avoid any devastating consequences developing from the row, the two countries should restrain their cyber activities, which should not encompass espionage, said James Lewis, a senior fellow directing the Technology and Public Policy Program at the US based Center for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS), in an interview with the Oriental Morning Post of Shanghai

A cyber war is "unlikely to break out if the two countries stick to this bottom line," Lewis said in the interview with the Shanghai based newspaper.

His remarks came amid the escalating war of words resulting from the Google row, which analysts say has been politicalized by the involvement of the US government.

Lewis pointed out that information stealing is common practice in cyber space, citing a US national defense official who said that "every day their computers are attacked nearly 300 million times, some banking systems are attacked over 7,000 times, and the websites of power companies are attacked 2,000 to 3,000 times."

But such attacks should be limited to information stealing, and not involve devastating activities, such as attacking a power company's Internet and destroying their power system, which could lead two countries into war, said Lewis.

"We are experiencing an era of an extremely unsafe Internet," Lewis said. "I hope China and the US can have dialogues on Internet security," as they have common interests in carrying trade and business communication in a stable cyber sphere.

But the chances are good that the two countries will reach an agreement on Internet security, as both countries need a stable Internet for business communication, said Lewis.

However, he said that it is not easy for the two countries to compromise on freedom and privacy on the Internet, and the Google case will add more difficulties to this process.

The two countries discussed network security issues at the 3rd China-US Internet Forum held last December in San Francisco, which was attended by Cai Mingzhao, deputy minister of the Publicity Department and consultant to the Internet Society of China, and US Under Secretary of State Robert Hermes.

China Daily

(China Daily 01/26/2010 page11)