China continues to deny carrying out cyberattacks against U.S.


National Security Adviser Tom Donilon (L) speaks with Fan Changlong, vice chairman of China's Central Military Commission, during a meeting at the headquarters of the Chinese Defense Ministry, in Beijing on May 28, 2013. Donilon's visit comes ahead of a meeting between Chinese President Xi Jinping and President Obama. (ALEXANDER F. YUAN/AFP/GETTY IMAGES)

China on Wednesday again denied that it has used cyberattacks to steal U.S. military and business secrets, after new accusations were leveled this week.

“China opposes all forms of cyber­attacks. China is also a victim of hacking,” Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said during a news briefing previewing Chinese President Xi Jinping’s meeting with President Obama next week. Zheng noted that China and the United States have agreed to set up a working group to regularly discuss the issue.

The White House has said that Obama will raise the issue next week, but Chinese officials responded to questions about it Wednesday with the same talking points they have long used.

The increased scrutiny of China’s cyber-activities comes amid mounting evidence of cyber-intrusions and the theft of proprietary private and government data in the United States. On Tuesday, The Washington Post reported on a confidential report prepared for the Pentagon that revealed that the designs of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems have been compromised by electronic intrusions.

After years of using circumspect language on the subject, often avoiding publicly singling out China by name, the Obama administration has recently escalated its warnings to the country.

At Wednesday’s news briefing, Zheng described the upcoming meeting — the first between the countries’ leaders since Xi’s elevation to the presidency and Obama’s reelection— as a chance for the two major powers to set up “a new model of China-U.S. relations.”

He said the nations must “walk a new path that is different from traditional superpower confrontations, a new path under which big powers can live in harmony, cooperating with mutual benefit.”

Liu Liu contributed to this report.

William Wan is The Post’s China correspondent based in Beijing. He served previously as a religion reporter and diplomatic correspondent.
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