Beijing must take steps to investigate and halt cybercrime, a top US official said Monday, warning the international community cannot tolerate the widespread hacking coming from China.
“This is not solely a national security concern or a concern of the US government,” National Security Advisor Tom Donilon told The Asia Society.
“Increasingly, US businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information… through cyber-intrusions emanating from China at a very large scale.”
In his speech in New York, Donilon called on China to recognize that cybercrime poses a serious threat to the reputation of Chinese industry.
“Beijing should take serious steps to investigate and put a stop to these activities,” he said, adding Washington wants “China to engage with us in a constructive direct dialogue to establish acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace.”
Last month, US lawmakers called for stiffer US action against Beijing for cyber spying and the massive theft of US industrial secrets, allegedly by the Chinese military.
Mike Rogers, the chairman of the House Intelligence Committee, said it was “beyond a shadow of a doubt” the Chinese military was behind a growing wave of hacking attacks on US businesses and institutions.
In January, The New York Times and other American media outlets reported they had come under hacking attacks from China, and a US congressional report last year named the country as “the most threatening actor in cyberspace.”
China has called such charges “groundless,” and state media has accused Washington of scapegoating Beijing to deflect attention from US economic woes.
But Donilon warned: “The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country.”
He renewed a warning from President Barack Obama that “we’ll take actions to protect our economy against cyberthreats.”
The Obama administration had worked hard with Beijing to build a “constructive relationship” which enabled the two nations to discuss openly issues of concern, Donilon said.
“The United States and China, the world’s two largest economies, both dependent on the Internet, must lead the way in addressing this problem.”