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China syndromeHagel says Chinese cyberattacks a “growing threat”

Published 3 June 2013

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned of a “growing threat” of cyberattacks against the United States, saying that America and its allies need to “establish international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.” Hagel spoke to an audience of defense analysts and defense ministers from Asia and Europe at the annual conference of the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Saturday.

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel warned of a “growing threat” of cyberattacks against the United States, saying that America and its allies need to “establish international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.” Hagel spoke to an audience of defense analysts and defense ministers from Asia and Europe at the annual conference of the International Institute for Strategic Studies on Saturday.

“The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyberintrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military,” Hagel said in a speech largely devoted to the Obama administration’s defense posture in Asia.

The New York Times reports that Hagel stressed the need for more communications between American and Chinese militaries in an effort to build trust and reduce the risk of miscalculation.

Hagel reassure America’s Asian allies that the United States will continue to maintain its presence in the region. Hagel said the United States will keep its “decisive military edge,” even as China has just announced an 11.2 percent boost in their military spending.

Hagel noted that the U.S. Navy had launched an experimental drone from an aircraft carrier last month, and that the service will deploy a solid-state laser aboard the USS Ponce, a naval vessel, next year. Hagel said the laser weapon will provide “an affordable answer” to counter threats like “missiles, swarming small boats and remotely piloted aircraft.”

The Times notes that cybersecurity was not the only issue brought up during the conference.

Several diplomats from nations allied with the United States have expressed concern about a map of the South China Sea issued by Sinomaps Press, the Chinese mapping authority, last week. Beijing has long been making claims to islands and land “features” within a nine-dash line drawn decades ago on maps of the South China Sea.About 80 percent of the South China Sea is within that line, which China first used on official Chinese maps in 1947. The line is not recognized by any other country.

The diplomats from other Asian countries present at the conference expressed outrage at te fact that the new Chinese map now show this 1947 line as China’s national boundaryWu Shicun, a Chinese official at the conference, denied that the new map showed national boundaries, saying the newly printed map was needed because last September, in a controversial move, Japan nationalized the Senkaku Islands (the Chinese call them Diaoyu islands), and China wanted to make sure that its claim to the islands was not overlooked.

The Chinese official also said that the lines were drawn in accordance with Chinese law, but a Pentagon report said that China did not comport with the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.