‘We don’t need US military secrets’: Beijing slams White House theft claim
A US Science Board report leaked this week alleged the Chinese hackers had obtained access to the designs of two dozen major US weapons systems in what amounted to “billions of dollars of combat advantage to China.”
The Washington Post, who saw a copy of the report, intimated that such information could be used by the Chinese government to speed up the development of their military. An unnamed official told the Post that China had saved themselves “25 years of research and development” by stealing the plans.
Beijing reacted with ire, with Chinese Defense Ministry spokesman Geng Yansheng dismissing the report as ridiculous.
"It both underestimates the Pentagon's defensive security abilities and the Chinese people's intelligence," said Geng in a news briefing.
He stressed that China had demonstrated on numerous occasions it has the ability “to build the weapons needed for national security."
"Recently China's aircraft carrier, new fighter jets and transport aircraft ... have clearly shown this," concluded Geng.
The Washington Post wrote that among the designs procured by the Chinese were blueprints for combat aircraft, ships and missiles defense systems for Europe, Asia and the Gulf. These included the advanced Patriot missile system, the F/A-18 fighter jet, the Black Hawk helicopter and the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter.
While Pentagon press secretary George Little told CNN on Tuesday claims that cyber-attacks had weakened US military capabilities were incorrect.
"Suggestions that cyberintrusions have somehow led to the erosion of our capabilities or technological edge are incorrect, we maintain full confidence in our weapons platforms," said Little.
The White House has accused Beijing repeatedly of hack attacks on US government and military systems. At the beginning of May the US Department of Defense formally condemned Chinese cyber-attacks, “some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.”
“Hacking attacks are transnational and anonymous,” Hong Lei, China’s Foreign Ministry spokesperson, said. “Determining their origins is extremely difficult. We don't know how the evidence in this so-called report can be tenable.”
The issue of cyber warfare has been a significant bone of contention in Sino-American relations lately, although Beijing has refuted all claims of cyber-attack on the US. Chinese President Xi Jingping is in America this week, where he will conduct talks with his American counterpart Barack Obama.
Cyber security is expected to be at the top of the agenda, as well as China’s growing military might and its claim on disputed territory in the East China Sea.