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US Cyber Command’s Veiled Threat: China ‘Vulnerable’ in Cyberspace

Speaking at this year’s Halifax Security Forum, the head of U.S. Cyber Command, who also is the director of the National Security Agency (NSA), Admiral Michael Rogers, issued a vicious warning to China should it not change its behavior in cyberspace.

The U.S. admiral pointed out that China is as vulnerable to cyberattacks as any other nation, according toDefense News. “To my Chinese counterparts, I would remind them, increasingly you are as vulnerable as any other major industrialized nation state. The idea that you can somehow exist outside the broader global cyber challenges I don’t think is workable,” he said.

By openly pointing to Chinese vulnerabilities, the admiral issued a veiled threat cautioning that China itself may be target of cyber intrusions in the future should Beijing not change its behavior in cyberspace, although Rogers cautioned: “None of us wants behavior on either side that ends up accelerating or precipitating a crisis. That’s in no one’s interests.”

Despite the September 25 joint statements, issued in parallel by the Chinese government and the White House, on how to strengthen bilateral relations in cyberspace–the most positive development between the two countries in this field since the June 2013 Sunnylands summit—tensions between the two countries remain. As a result, the United States has increasingly toughened its stance vis-à-vis alleged Chinese state-sponsored cyberattacks.

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