- The Washington Times - Tuesday, April 19, 2016

China’s state-run press agency accused the United States on Sunday of blaming Beijing for a recent rash of cyberattacks in order to advance its own interests.

In an op-ed published by Xinhua, China’s largest government-controlled media organization, recent claims of Chinese-sponsored cyberattacks waged at the Pentagon are dismissed as “self-serving rhetoric” invented by the U.S. government to boost America’s budget and “realize other ulterior motives.”

“With such gimmick, certain politicians and parties could reap political gains, while the intelligence agencies and the military obtain new authorization or more budgets, and related contractors win large orders,” the op-ed said.

“The so-called cyber attacks claimed by the United States may well be a farce directed by the superpower itself.”

The commentary, attributed to writer Zhu Junqing, directly responds to claims made during a House hearing last week by Vice Adm. James D. Syring, the director of the U.S. Defense Department’s Missile Defense Agency, who told a House Armed Services subcommittee last Thursday that his department’s computer networks are under a relentless hack attack he blames on China. 

“We have taken inordinate steps to protect both our classified and unclassified networks from attack, [with] constant 24/7 monitoring with teams in place plus good material protections of those systems,” he said. “They are continuing to try and attack my government networks, every day, classified and unclassified.”

Xinhua said in response that U.S. officials have made similar “groundless accusations” in the past and that the U.S. is the world’s leader in offensive cyber operations.

“As a matter of fact, in the cyber space, China is a victim rather than a trouble maker. After all, it’s the United States that has an overwhelming edge in Internet technology, with the world’s biggest Internet intelligence agency and a first-rate cyber army,” the op-ed continued.

“It is advisable for the United States to realistically stop its groundless accusation and malicious condemnation, and to make cyber security cooperation a new highlight of China-U.S. cooperation as the two countries are making efforts to build a new type of major-country relations.”

Following a wave of cyberattacks against U.S. businesses blamed on Beijing, President Obama and his Chinese counterpart met at the White House in September 2015 and announced they had reached a “common understanding” regarding hacking targets in one another’s countries.

Earlier this month, however, the head of the U.S. Cyber Command told a Senate panel that “the jury is still out” when asked if China was holding up its end of the agreement.

“We continue to see them engaged in activity directed against U.S. companies. The question I think we still need to ask is, is that activity then in turn shared with the Chinese private industry?” Adm. Mike Rogers said at the time.

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