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Asia Unbound

CFR experts give their take on the cutting-edge issues emerging in Asia today.

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Showing posts for "Adam Segal"

Oil Security, China, and Taiwan

by Adam Segal
A soldier stands guard next to a Z-9WZ military helicopter designed and manufactured by China during a media visit at the military base of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army Aviation 4th Helicopter Regiment, on the outskirts of Beijing, July 24, 2012. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters) A soldier stands guard next to a Z-9WZ military helicopter designed and manufactured by China during a media visit at the military base of Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) Army Aviation 4th Helicopter Regiment, on the outskirts of Beijing, July 24, 2012. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters)

The news last week that China has passed the United States as the world’s largest net oil importer points to a number of significant geopolitical shifts that have been long in the making, including China’s increased diplomatic presence in the Middle East and its efforts to develop overland pipelines to energy sources in Central Asia. This transformation is also forcing us to rethink how an actual military conflict may unfold in East Asia, highlighting new vulnerabilities and strategies. Read more »

Will the NSA Revelations Kickstart the Domestic Cybersecurity Industry in China?

by Adam Segal
Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, delivers a speech at the Brazil Infrastructure Opportunity event in New York, September 25, 2013. Rousseff is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters) Dilma Rousseff, President of Brazil, delivers a speech at the Brazil Infrastructure Opportunity event in New York, September 25, 2013. Rousseff is in New York for the United Nations General Assembly. (Chip East/Courtesy Reuters)

One of the common arguments in the wake of the Snowden revelations about NSA surveillance is that other countries are going to double down on developing their own technology industries to reduce their dependence on U.S. companies. The Chinese press has made this argument numerous times–highlighting how IBM, Cisco, Intel and others have penetrated Chinese society–and this was one of the themes in Brazilian President Dilma Rousseff’s address to the United Nations General Assembly: “Brazil will redouble its efforts to adopt legislation, technologies and mechanisms to protect us from the illegal interception of communications and data.” Read more »

Lynx, Mukden, Mooncakes, and Chinese Hackers

by Adam Segal
Freshly-baked mooncakes pass along a conveyor belt at a mooncakes factory in Shanghai on September 12, 2013. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters) Freshly-baked mooncakes pass along a conveyor belt at a mooncakes factory in Shanghai on September 12, 2013. (Aly Song/Courtesy Reuters)

After a summer dominated by revelations of U.S. espionage and offensive cyber operations, Chinese hackers are back in the news. Three stories do a good job of illustrating that Chinese hackers are not a monolithic group, but rather multiple actors with manifold motivations. Read more »

The Positive That Might Have Come Out the U.S.-China Cybersecurity Working Group

by Adam Segal
(L-R) Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leave after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) Joint Opening Session at the State Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Courtesy Yuri Gripas/Reuters) (L-R) Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang and U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew leave after the U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) Joint Opening Session at the State Department in Washington on July 10, 2013. (Courtesy Yuri Gripas/Reuters)

The first meeting of the U.S.-China Working Group on cybersecurity has ended, and preliminary reviews are fairly positive. Xinhua reports that “the two sides held candid in-depth discussions” and that Washington and Beijing have signaled their intention to improve cooperation in cyberspace. A senior U.S. government official rolled out the old chestnut of “constructive discussions,” but also noted that both sides made “practical proposals to increase our cooperation and build greater understanding and transparency.”

The United States raised the issue of “cyber-enabled” espionage during the working group, and cyber espionage is on the agenda during the high-level meetings of the Strategic and Economic Dialogue. Read more »

Defending an Open, Global Internet: China Is Not the Only Challenge, But Is a Big One

by Adam Segal
Task Force Report: Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet Task Force Report: Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet

Yesterday the Council on Foreign Relations released a new Task Force Report, “Defending an Open, Global, Secure, and Resilient Internet.” The report, co-chaired by Ambassador John Negroponte, former U.S. director of national intelligence and deputy secretary of state, and Samuel J. Palmisano, former chairman of the board and chief executive officer of IBM, and directed by me, suggests a policy framework based on four pillars. Read more »

Obama, Xi, and Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama (R) shakes hands with China's Vice President Xi Jinping in the Oval Office of the White House in Washington on February 14, 2012. (Jason Reed/Courtesy Reuters)

In the run up to the “shirt-sleeves” summit between Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama, which will take place at the Sunnylands estate in California on June 7-8, one of the questions has been how would Obama raise the cyber espionage issue. An approach that directly calls out the seriousness of the attacks but indirectly hints at the possible sanctions seems the most likely. This would be a “good cop, bad cop” approach. Obama would stress that Chinese attacks, especially on the private sector, needed to be dialed back, but that Washington also wanted to continue working with Beijing on a range of issues, including Iran, North Korea denuclearization, and climate change. Obama would also hint that there is a great deal of legislation being considered that might lead to sanctions on Chinese companies and travel restrictions on individuals, and that China should work with him to prevent that from happening. Read more »

Three Thoughts on Cyber and the Defense Department’s Report on the Chinese Military

by Adam Segal
U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey (R) and Chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army Fang Fenghui salute after inspecting a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing on April 22, 2013. (Andy Wong/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. Joint Chiefs Chairman General Martin Dempsey (R) and Chief of the general staff of China's People's Liberation Army Fang Fenghui salute after inspecting a guard of honor during a welcoming ceremony at the Bayi Building in Beijing on April 22, 2013. (Andy Wong/Courtesy Reuters)

The Defense Department released its annual report to Congress on Military and Security Developments Involving the People’s Republic of China 2013. Besides being delivered relatively early compared to past editions and being almost twice as long as the 2012 version, this year’s version has at least three interesting points about Chinese cyber activities.

First, as many have noted, the sharpest break from the past is that the report directly ascribes blame for cyberattacks to the Chinese government and military, saying, “numerous computer systems around the world, including those owned by the U.S. government, continued to be targeted for intrusions, some of which appear to be attributable directly to the Chinese government and military.” Read more »

What To Do About Chinese Cyber Espionage?

by Adam Segal
The facade of the New York Times building is seen in New York, on November 29, 2010. The facade of the New York Times building is seen in New York, on November 29, 2010. (Shannon Stapleton/Courtesy Reuters)

A few days after the New York Times, Wall Street Journal, and Washington Post all admitted that their computer networks had been attacked, apparently by China-based hackers, it seems fair to say that both sides agree the “naming and shaming” approach to the problem is not working. The United States can call China out, but it has no real affect on behavior. Read more »

Presidential Inbox: The Constant Irrititant of Cybersecurity in Asia

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. U.S. President Barack Obama recites his oath of office as first lady Michelle Obama looks on during swearing-in ceremonies on the West front of the U.S Capitol in Washington, DC, on January 21, 2013. (Jim Bourg/Courtesy Reuters)

Mr. President, as you look toward Asia in your second term, cybersecurity will be a grain of sand in the eye, a major irritant but not one that blocks the larger vision of what you hope to accomplish in the region. That grain, namely Chinese cyber espionage, is not going away any time soon, but there are things you can do to make it slightly less annoying. Moreover, many of the policies to mitigate the situation will overlap with other efforts to re-energize the U.S. presence and boost ties to allies and friends in the region. Read more »

Five Trends to Watch for in Chinese Cybersecurity in 2013

by Adam Segal
A man smokes as he uses a computer at an internet cafe in Hefei, Anhui province, A man smokes as he uses a computer at an internet cafe in Hefei, Anhui province, (Jianan Yu/Courtesy Reuters)

With 2012 coming to an end, here are some of the larger trends to watch in Chinese cybersecurity in the upcoming year.

New institutions/bureaucratic reform. There are rumors that there will be another round of bureaucratic reforms in the spring. Chinese analysts have pointed out that one of the great weaknesses in their defenses is that institutional oversight of cybersecurity is fragmented and ineffective, and there is a low degree of information sharing between the government and industry. There have also been complaints that China lacks adequate strategic planning for information security. In the past, efforts at ministerial reform have been underwhelming, resulting in little more than shuffling around of titles. This CCID report, however, does make the interesting suggestion that China should set up an “information security agency” to better coordinate cyber strategy. Read more »