China accuses the United States of large scale cyber theft against Japan and a host of other Asian nations tells Washington to stop
The US government has committed large-scale “cyber theft” against Japan and other countries in Asia, the Chinese Foreign Ministry has claimed while urging Washington to halt its deployment of “cyber forces” around the globe.
Speaking on Thursday, the ministry said US military and intelligence agencies have built up hacking capabilities in allied nations under the guise of “capacity-building cooperations,” but have instead used that presence to “infiltrate these countries’ cyber systems.”
Washington has carried out “large-scale, systematic and indiscriminate cyber theft against other countries in the world,” Foreign Ministry spokesperson Mao Ning said.
She added that the Pentagon seeks to use Beijing’s neighbors as a “springboard for the US government’s cyber attacks against China without their knowledge.”
The spokesperson went on to cite a 2015 WikiLeaks publication based on leaked intelligence documents, which revealed that the US National Security Agency (NSA) had targeted 35 Japanese individuals and entities, including senior government officials and major corporations like Mitsubishi.
The intrusion was controversial, with then-Vice President Joe Biden later forced to apologize to officials in Tokyo.
The ministry’s statement follows a report in the Washington Post earlier this week, which accused the Chinese military of hacking into Japan’s “sensitive defense networks” in the fall of 2020.
Previously unreported, the story relied on several unnamed ex-US officials, who described the alleged cyber attack as “one of the most damaging hacks” in Japanese history.
Japan’s chief cabinet secretary, Hirokazu Matsuno, refused to comment when pressed on the matter earlier this week, saying “we haven’t confirmed the fact that security information has been leaked due to cyber attacks.”
He added that cyber security is a major focus of US-Japanese cooperation, noting that work would continue.
Though Beijing has yet to respond to the charges directly, commentary published by China’s state-linked Global Times news agency described the latest allegations as “another staged drama orchestrated by the US.”
It suggested the story’s “true purpose” was to smear China’s image, stoke regional tensions, and damage relations with Japan.
In April, the Chinese government published a review of alleged US government cyber attacks, claiming that American intelligence agencies have “been intruding on, dividing and suppressing foreign cybersecurity vendors” for years.
The report outlined several major hacking incidents, including a 2010 attack on Iranian nuclear facilities using the US and Israeli-developed Stuxnet virus, and also pointed to Washington’s mass-collection surveillance program under the NSA.
Source Global Times/AP/RT/Wikileaks