Senior U.S. officials and experts say the United States needs to rally allies to pressure China stealing advanced technology through cyber espionage. At the same time, key American lawmakers are questioning the readiness and capacity of the U.S. to counter such threats.
The renewed push comes after U.S. federal prosecutors pressed criminal charges against the world’s largest telecommunications company — China’s Huawei Technologies — its chief financial officer and several subsidiaries for alleged financial fraud and theft of U.S. intellectual property.
Huawei denies the charges. Beijing denies its government and military engage in cyber-espionage, saying the U.S. allegations are fabricated.
“The Huawei incident seems like an action against an individual corporation, but it is actually bigger than this,” said Hu Xingdou, a Beijing-based scholar. “This is about one state’s technology war against another state, about which one will occupy the technology high ground in the future.”
The Trump administration, however, said Washington is deeply concerned about the potential of Beijing using Chinese technology firms to spy on the U.S. and its allies.
“China’s pursuit of intellectual property, sensitive research and development plans, and the U.S. person data remains a significant threat to the United States government and the private sector,” Director of National Intelligence Dan Coats told lawmakers at a Senate Select Committee on Intelligence hearing on Tuesday.
Other officials, including Assistant Secretary of State for International Security and Non-proliferation Christopher Ford, advocate for a global coalition against Chinese technology-transfer threats.
At another hearing, experts said threats that Huawei poses to supply chains and critical infrastructure are “absolutely real.”
“We need defensive measures and we need to invest in our own technologies as well, and we need to be cooperating with allies and partners,” said Ely Ratner, who was deputy national security advisor to former Vice President Joe Biden.
“We know that the Huawei leadership has members of the Communist Party within it, and the company has a long and deep relationship with both PLA and the Ministry of State Security in China. And of course is subject to Chinese law and their new National Intelligence law which gives the government the right to use the networks and data as they wish,” added Ratner at a Senate Armed Service Committee hearing.
Former Deputy Assistant Secretary of Defense Elbridge Colby warned that China may gain “economic, informational, and blackmail” leverage over other countries through data collected by companies such as Huawei.
“This dissolves or corrodes the resolve in these countries potentially to stand up to Chinese potential coercion,” Colby told senators.
“We need to be able to form a network that is sufficient and cohesive to stand up to these Chinese threats,” he added.
Bipartisan senators have been pushing for the creation of a White House office to fight China’s state-sponsored technology theft and defend critical supply chains.
“China and other nations are currently attempting to achieve technological and economic superiority over the United States through the aggressive use of state-directed or state-supported technology transfers,” said Senator Mark Warner (D-VA) and Senator Marco Rubio (R-FL) who introduced a bill to fight China’s technology threats earlier this month.
“A national response to combat these threats and ensure our national security has, to date, been hampered by insufficient coordination at the federal level,” added Warner and Rubio in a statement.
Under the bill, the Office of Critical Technologies & Security would coordinate with federal and state regulators, the private sector, experts and U.S. allies to ensure that every available tool is being utilized to safeguard the supply chain and protect emerging dual-use technologies.
The case has provoked strong reactions in China.
Lew Mon-hung, a Hong Kong-based businessman and analyst, says China should fight back in U.S. courts.
Mon-hung, a former member of the Chinese Political Consultative Conference (China’s political advisory legislative body), says that China should trust the U.S.’s rule of law and resort to legal measures to clear Huawei’s name.
“When the US government filed these charges, China’s government, Huawei, or the Chinese public, should use legal means to solve legal problems,” he said. “Since Huawei has abundant financial resources, and since the Chinese government has the largest foreign currency reserve in the world, why don’t they just hire the best American lawyers? They can build a strong team of lawyers against this case and fight a legal battle.” (VOA)
The United States creates more planet-warming greenhouse gas emissions through its defense operations alone than industrialized countries such as Sweden and Portugal, researchers said Wednesday.
The Pentagon, which oversees the U.S. military, released about 59 million metric tons of carbon dioxide and other greenhouse gases in 2017, according to the first study to compile such comprehensive data, published by Brown University.
The Pentagon’s emissions were “in any one year … greater than many smaller countries’ greenhouse gas emissions,” the study said.
If it were a country, its emissions would make it the world’s 55th-largest contributor, said Neta Crawford, the study’s author and a political scientist at Boston University.
“There is a lot of room here to reduce emissions,” Crawford said.
Request for comments to the Pentagon went unanswered.
Using and moving troops and weapons accounted for about 70% of its energy consumption, mostly due to the burning of jet and diesel fuel, Crawford said.
It dwarfed yearly emissions by Sweden, which the international research project Global Carbon Atlas ranks 65th worldwide for its of CO2 emissions.
Pentagon emissions were higher than those of Portugal, ranked 57th by the Global Carbon Atlas, said Crawford.
China is the world’s largest emitter of carbon dioxide, the main gas responsible for climate change, followed by the United States.
The Pentagon called climate change “a national security issue” in a January report to Congress and has launched multiple initiatives to prepare for its impact.
Global temperatures are on course for an increase of 3 to 5 degrees Celsius (5.4-9.0 degrees Fahrenheit) this century, far overshooting a global target of limiting the increase to 2 C or less, the U.N. World Meteorological Organization said in November.
Four degrees Celsius of warming would increase more than five times the influence of climate on conflict, according to a study published in Nature magazine on Wednesday.
Crawford said the Pentagon had reduced its fuel consumption significantly since 2009, including by making its vehicles more efficient and moving to cleaner sources of energy at bases.