Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel had some words about the cyber threat from China while speaking today in Singapore. But a Chinese general, in the room for the speech, immediately responded by saying, "China is not convinced."
"Even as we seek to uphold principles in well-established areas, we must also recognize the need for common rules of the road in new domains," Hagel said, according to an official transcript of his remarks.
The U.S. and all nations in the region have many areas of common interest and concern in cyberspace, where the threats to our economic security, businesses and industrial base are increasing. In response, the United States is increasing investment in cyber security and we are deepening cyber cooperation with Allies in the region and across the globe. Next week I will attend a meeting of NATO Defense Ministers with many of my NATO colleagues in attendance here this morning devoted to cyber issues.
We are also clear-eyed about the challenges in cyber. 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. As the world’s two largest economies, the U.S. and China have many areas of common interest and concern, and the establishment of a cyber working group is a positive step in fostering U.S.-China dialogue on cyber. We are determined to work more vigorously with China and other partners to establish international norms of responsible behavior in cyberspace.
According to the Associated Press, a Chinese general seemed to rebuke Hagel in the question & answer section of the address:
Maj. Gen. Yao Yunzhu, director of the Center for China-America Defense Relations at the People's Liberation Army's Academy of Military Science, challenged Hagel to better explain America's intentions for its military buildup across the region.
"Thank you for mentioning China several times," she said in the question-and-answer session after Hagel's speech.
She said the Obama administration's new focus on the Pacific has been widely interpreted as an "attempt to counter China's rising influence and to offset the increasing military capabilities of the Chinese PLA. However, China is not convinced."