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Beijing responds to US jitters over cybersecurity

By ZHOU JIN | China Daily | Updated: 2018-01-30 07:25
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Ministry calls for restraint, global mutual trust to block data threats

Beijing called for the international community on Monday to enhance dialogue and cooperation on the basis of mutual trust to jointly cope with cybersecurity threats.

Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, in a daily news conference, sought cooperation after a senior US official said on Sunday the US government is considering a superfast 5G wireless network to counter the threat of spying by China on US phone calls.

The official, confirming the gist of a report from the news site, said the option was being debated at a low level in the administration and was six to eight months away from being considered by the president himself.

The 5G network concept is aimed at addressing what officials see as China's threat to US cybersecurity and economic security.

This month, AT&T was forced to scrap a plan to offer its customers handsets built by China's Huawei Technologies Co after some members of Congress lobbied against the idea with federal regulators.

In 2012, Huawei and ZTE Corp were the subject of a US investigation into whether their equipment provided an opportunity for foreign espionage and threatened critical US infrastructure.

China holds a consistent stance on the issue and the government firmly forbids and cracks down on all forms of cyberattacks, Hua said.

The worldwide outbreak of the WannaCry cyber virus in May 2017 shows that cyber weaponization is a threat to global cybersecurity and will probably increase the risk of an arms race in cyberspace, she said. "We believe that the international community should, on the basis of mutual respect and trust, strengthen dialogue and cooperation and join hands in addressing the threat of cyberattacks to maintain the peace and stability of cyberspace," Hua said.

Wang Yiwei, a professor of international studies at Renmin University of China, said the US move has several purposes.

China and the US are taking leading roles in the internet, so the US sees China as its threat and rival, Wang said.

Under the slogan of threat, the US is actually carrying out protectionism for its domestic market, to the dissatisfaction of China, he said.

The US cares deeply about the 5G market, but lost its monopoly status in the area, so the country is trying to catch up and remain vigilant against China, he said.

Reuters contributed to this story.

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