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Hagel Rebukes China on Cyberattacks against the U.S.

June 1st 2013

Chinese hacker at computer

Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel called out China on Saturday for alleged cyberattacks against the U.S. government and several industries.

Speaking at the Shangri-La Security Dialogue, where Chinese officials were present, Hagel urged China to work with the United States to establish "international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace."

"The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military," Hagel said.

The remarks addressed what U.S. officials say is a growing threat from international cyberattacks seeking state and industry secrets that are stored online. The Pentagon has blamed China for many of the attacks, allegations China has denied.

Hagel's remarks drew a sharp rebuke from Chinese general Yao Yungzhu, who questioned the United States' reasons for shifting its military focus to the Pacific.

The Defense Department has said its rebalancing effort is not meant to threaten China, a rising power in the region. "China is not convinced," the general told the audience following Hagel's speech.

Hagel promised that by 2020, 60 percent of U.S. naval assets will be stationed in the Pacific. A similar share of Air Force overseas forces have been moved there already, he added.

The U.S. defense chief took pains to reassure the Chinese that the Pacific rebalance is not meant to tamp down its power.

"The United States welcomes and supports a prosperous and successful China that contributed to regional and global problem solving," Hagel said.

The Shangri-La Security Dialogue is an annual conference held in Singapore. Twenty-seven countries were represented there this weekend.

Elise Vliebeck writes for The Hill, from where this article is adapted.    

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