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Cyberspace security a crucial aspect of China-US diplomacy

Author  :  Lu Zhongwei     Source  :    Chinese Social Sciences Today     2016-12-05

Cyberspace security cannot be narrowly defined in terms of information technology and network security. It should be lifted to a strategic height and considered a matter of national security, rather than something dealt with only at the technological or industrial level.

The strategic attribute of cyberspace security has intensified conflicts among major countries. Network security has become a focal point of major power diplomacy, including such issues as defense against Internet-based attacks, the struggle for international discourse power, and competition in terms of infrastructure and core technology. It is also believed that cyber-power will shape contemporary international relations to a large extent.

As they gain a greater understanding of cyberspace security, all countries are actively reconsidering the trends in cyberspace security from totally new perspectives. Many of them have released and implemented national-level cybersecurity strategies. Except for the United States, the cybersecurity strategies of most countries stress “homeland defense,” but they are all in fact characterized by “aggressive defense.”

The United States is a superpower in cyberspace, leading the way in such fields as cyberspace attack and defense power, security strategy, cooperative policy and system construction. The Pentagon in particular has been making full preparations for the possibility of a “cyberspace war.”

In 2013, Edward Snowden, a former US National Security Agency (NSA) contractor, shocked the world when he revealed the extent of Internet and phone surveillance by US intelligence. Recently, a report claimed that the US military has hacked into Russia’s power grids, telecommunications networks and the Kremlin’s command systems. All these incidents show that the United States is the only country capable of attacking in global cyberspace.

In terms of cyberspace security, the biggest gap lies in core technology between the United States and countries, including China, Russia, Japan, South Korea, India, Israel, Australia, Germany and the UK. Also, there are problems between both sides such as network hegemony, unsound rules and unreasonable order.

The United States vigorously conducts monitoring by drawing on its cyberspace strength while simultaneously trumping up claims about the supposed threat of Chinese hackers. They seize the right of speech through public opinion warfare while reinforcing the capability of cyberwar.

With the gap in ‘network ability’ shrinking between China and the United States, cyberspace security has become a core factor of ChinaUS diplomacy. US scholars have said that China has a comprehensive understanding of the network field and is changing trends of cyberspace.

China and the United States are boosting cooperation in cyberspace. In order to prevent differences of opinion from evolving into conflicts as well as adapt to comprehensively deepened global cyberspace governance, China has put forward “four principles” for promoting the transformation of the global Internet governance system and “five proposals” to jointly build a cyberspace community of common destiny. These have been endorsed by most countries in the world and have become a global consensus.

To make cyberspace more secure is the common responsibility of the international community. Chinese thought and the China scheme are ushering in the future of cyberspace.


This article was translated from Jiefang Daily. Lu Zhongwei is former president of China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations.

Editor: Yu Hui

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