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Hunter Gross: Despite Cyber Espionage, U.S.-China Relations Are Business as Usual

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
U.S. Secretary of Defense Chuck Hagel (L) shakes hands with Chinese Minister of Defense Chang Wanquan at the end of a joint news conference at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters in Beijing on April 8, 2014. (Alex Wong/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. secretary of defense Chuck Hagel (L) shakes hands with Chinese minister of defense Chang Wanquan at the end of a joint news conference at the Chinese Defense Ministry headquarters in Beijing on April 8, 2014. (Alex Wong/Courtesy Reuters)

Hunter Gross is an intern for Asia Studies at the Council on Foreign Relations.

Just as U.S. president Barack Obama and Chinese president Xi Jinping were set to meet in The Hague, documents leaked by Edward Snowden revealed that the National Security Agency installed backdoors in the computer networks of the Chinese telecommunications firm Huawei. Despite extensive U.S. media coverage and angry reactions from Chinese news sources such as Xinhua and the Global Times, this revelation follows the pattern of previous cyber-related disclosures; the issue first flares up, and then quickly fades until the next disclosure. Why does such a divisive issue neither strain U.S.-China relations or trigger significant actions to address the problem? Read more »

What Briefing Chinese Officials on Cyber Really Accomplishes

by Adam Segal
U.S. President Barack Obama, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and China's President Xi Jinping talk during a family photo at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 25, 2014. (Doug Mills/Courtesy Reuters) U.S. President Barack Obama, U.N. Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon and China's President Xi Jinping talk during a family photo at the Nuclear Security Summit in The Hague March 25, 2014. (Doug Mills/Courtesy Reuters)

David Sanger wrote an interesting article in the New York Times about Washington’s efforts to prevent escalating cyberattacks with Beijing. According to Sanger, U.S. officials have tried to allay the concerns of their Chinese counterparts about the buildup of Pentagon capabilities through greater transparency. They have briefed them on the “emerging doctrine for defending against cyberattacks against the United States—and for using its cybertechnology against adversaries, including the Chinese.” We should, however, be clear about their real purpose. These briefings have more to do with deterring China than assuring it. Read more »

China’s New Small Leading Group on Cybersecurity and Internet Management

by Adam Segal
China's Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan (R ) and China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang attend the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2013. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters) China's Politburo Standing Committee member Liu Yunshan (R ) and China's Vice Premier Li Keqiang attend the opening ceremony of the Chinese People's Political Consultative Conference (CPPCC) at the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on March 3, 2013. (Jason Lee/Courtesy Reuters)

China announced the first meeting of a leading group on Internet security and informatization earlier today. The group is chaired by President Xi Jinping, while Premier Li Keqiang and Liu Yunshan, a member of the Standing Committee of the Political Bureau and the director of the Propaganda Department, serve as the group’s deputies. There have been reports of a leading small group on cyber issues meeting in the past, but this is the first public meeting in at least four years. The announcement of this new group is significant. Read more »

Piekos and Tobias: China’s Place in ‘House of Cards’

by Guest Blogger for Elizabeth C. Economy
Cast member Kevin Spacey poses at the premiere for the second season of the television series "House of Cards" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California on February 13, 2014. (Mario Anzuoni/Courtesy Reuters) Cast member Kevin Spacey poses at the premiere for the second season of the television series "House of Cards" at the Directors Guild of America in Los Angeles, California on February 13, 2014. (Mario Anzuoni/Courtesy Reuters)

Will Piekos is a program coordinator and Sharone Tobias is a research associate in the Council on Foreign Relation’s Asia Studies program.

Warning: This blog post contains spoilers for House of Cards.

Netflix’s original series House of Cards returned with a second season on Valentine’s Day this year. Read more »

Chinese Predictions for Cyberspace in 2014: Intense Competition and National Conflict

by Adam Segal
An officer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) uses a string to ensure that the soldiers making up a guard of honour, stand in a straight line before an official welcoming ceremony for Afghan President Hamid Karzai outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 27, 2013. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Courtesy Reuters) An officer of the Chinese People's Liberation Army (PLA) uses a string to ensure that the soldiers making up a guard of honour, stand in a straight line before an official welcoming ceremony for Afghan President Hamid Karzai outside the Great Hall of the People in Beijing on September 27, 2013. (Kim Kyung-Hoon/Courtesy Reuters)

The U.S.-China cybersecurity working group recently met for the second time during the first week in December. There have been no public reports of what was discussed or what progress, if any, was made. As with many of these dialogues, one of the main goals is not concrete deliverables, but reducing mistrust between the two sides. Yet some recent articles suggest that mutual understanding is going to be hard to find, and that some in China see cyberspace as increasingly antagonistic and dangerous. Read more »

Cyberspace Cannot Live Without Sovereignty, Says Lu Wei

by Adam Segal
Demonstrators from the pro-China "Caring Hong Kong Power" group protest over claims from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency (NSA) hacked computers in the Chinese territory, outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong on July 9, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters) Demonstrators from the pro-China "Caring Hong Kong Power" group protest over claims from former U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden that the National Security Agency (NSA) hacked computers in the Chinese territory, outside the U.S. Consulate in Hong Kong on July 9, 2013. (Bobby Yip/Courtesy Reuters)

Last week at a meeting which spent most of its time focusing on how U.S. cyberspace policy could recover in the wake of the Snowden revelations, the panel was asked whether there was any good news to report. I mentioned, with what I thought was some hedging, the June 2013 report from the third UN Group of Government Experts (GGE) on Developments in the Field of Information and Telecommunications in the Context of International Security . Read more »

Japan Moves Forward in Cyberspace

by Adam Segal
A Diet guard stands guards in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on December 26, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters) A Diet guard stands guards in front of the parliament building in Tokyo on December 26, 2012. (Yuriko Nakao/Courtesy Reuters)

As Rob Sheldon and Mihoko Matsubara have noted in previous guest posts, there has been a great deal of cybersecurity policy activity in Japan over the last year, both on the domestic and international fronts. In June 2013, Japan’s Information Security Policy Council released a new cybersecurity strategy. In October, the United States and Japan announced a new Cyber Defense Policy Working Group, and in the same month Japan released its first International Strategy on Cybersecurity. Read more »

Rob Sheldon: Advancing U.S.-Japan Collective Cyber Capabilities (Part III: Cooperation)

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters) Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters)

Rob Sheldon is a 2013-2014 Mansfield Fellow based in Tokyo. Follow him at @shorttelegrams. Also see Part I and Part II of this series.

As the United States and Japan seek to develop the capacity for collective operations in cyberspace, the overarching theme should be creating practical, functional forces, processes, and institutions. A stated goal of the policy should be to establish capabilities that are robust enough to address high-end threats, yet nimble enough to address normal, low-end, peacetime threats. Read more »

Rob Sheldon: Advancing U.S.-Japan Collective Cyber Capabilities (Part II: Practical Steps)

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters) Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters)

Rob Sheldon is a 2013-2014 Mansfield Fellow based in Tokyo. Follow him at @shorttelegrams. Also see Part I and Part III of this series.

Washington and Tokyo are clearly interested in continuing to increase cyber cooperation—potentially in the context of collective defense. Given the nature of the alliance, “collective cyber” should be more than just policy commitment; it should be undergirded by collective capabilities. Unfortunately for planners on both sides, there is little precedent from which to draw on building international-level interoperability in the cyber domain. In September 2011, the United States and Australia formally recognized their need to incorporate cyber in the Australia, New Zeleand, United States (ANZUS) treaty. Read more »

Rob Sheldon: Advancing U.S.-Japan Collective Cyber Capabilities (Part I: Context)

by Guest Blogger for Adam Segal
Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters) Participants from government ministries and agencies take part in the Cyber Defense Exercise with Recurrence (CYDER) in Tokyo on September 25, 2013. (Toru Hanai/Courtesy Reuters)

Rob Sheldon is a 2013-2014 Mansfield Fellow based in Tokyo. Follow him at @shorttelegrams. Also see Part II and Part III of this series.

After several years of incremental improvements, Washington and Tokyo are now more purposefully advancing their alliance into the cyber age. During the October 3, 2013, Security Consultative Committee (“2+2”) meeting in Tokyo, cabinet members from both sides agreed to establish a new Cyber Defense Policy Working Group (CDPWG), intended to promote cyber cooperation between their respective defense establishments and governments. Official statements following the dialogue indicate that each side views this as a central achievement of the meeting and a key forum for future cooperation. Read more »