Beijing: The top US military officer said on Wednesday that he has called on China to be more transparent about cyberattacks and boost collaboration with the US to tackle a common threat to their economies. General Martin Dempsey said tackling cyber intrusions featured in his talks with his Chinese counterpart and other Chinese leaders during his three-day visit to China aimed at building mutual trust between the world's most powerful military and China's fast-growing and increasingly sophisticated force.
Washington has grown increasingly concerned with hacking attacks against US targets believed to originate in China, prompting calls for a strong response ranging from cyber countermeasures to trade sanctions. However, Dempsey, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, said he didn't discuss any specific measures being considered to discourage such activity. Instead, he said he stressed the common danger posed to the US and Chinese economies as hacking attacks move from information theft, to disruption and finally destruction of computer networks.
"The nations in the world who rely the most on technology and have the strongest economies will be the most vulnerable to cyber activity," Dempsey told reporters following the conclusion of his meetings. "So I just reinforced the importance and encouraged them to put their brightest and best minds to seek a level of collaboration and transparency with us on the issue, because it will affect both of our futures." An industry report earlier in 2013 claimed to have tracked hacking attacks to a unit of China's People's Liberation Army, and Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel has called such activity the greatest threat to American economic, political and diplomatic security.
Yet, the US has proceeded cautiously in confronting China over the issue, seeking instead to win its cooperation in fighting the problem together. China calls itself one of the world's major victims of hacking, and the sides agreed earlier this year to set up a cyber working group to tackle the menace, something Dempsey described as "timely and appropriate." Issues on the Korean Peninsula also featured prominently in Dempsey's talks, and he warned that North Korea was moving from a pattern of cyclical threats into a far more dangerous stage of sustained tensions. "In a prolonged state of provocation, the risk does increase," said Dempsey, who made a brief stop in ally South Korea before arriving in Beijing on Monday.