China condemned cyber terrorism, but said more proof is needed that North Korea hacked Sony Pictures.
Its comments came a day after the United States asked China for help blocking cyber attacks from the North.
China says it opposes cyber attacks on third parties through making use of the facilities of another country. The comments from China’s Foreign Ministry came after the United States accused North Korea of hacking Sony Pictures.
China Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying said China opposes a country using the internal facilities of another country to launch cyber attacks.
Hua said China is ready to carry out dialogue on this issue with other countries based on mutual trust and affirmed that China will act in accordance with law on this issue.
Her comments came after China confirmed a telephone conversation between Foreign Minister Wang Yi and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry late Sunday.
Has not blamed North Korea
During that call, Wang also said China opposes cyber attacks. But in subsequent comments from the Foreign Ministry, China has not blamed North Korea for the Sony attack.
When asked if China believed North Korea launched the cyber attack on Sony Pictures through Chinese servers, China’s Foreign Ministry said China needed more facts before making any conclusions.
Yesterday U.S. President Barack Obama asked for China and several other countries to help block future cyber attacks from North Korea.
China’s help would be crucial. Much of North Korea’s telecommunications runs through Chinese network systems, and U.S. officials said the hacking attack on Sony was routed through Chinese servers.
Obama has also vowed to retaliate against North Korea for the attack.
Any sanctions the United States might impose on North Korea would need Chinese backing to be effective.
In recent years, trade between China and North Korea has soared and China is the top source of food aid to its northeastern neighbor.
Cyber security tensions
Tensions have risen between the United States and China over cyber security, with each country accusing the other of hacking attacks.
Xiaohe Cheng, a professor of International Relations at Renmin University, said this could provide an opportunity for China and the U.S. to improve ties on this issue.
“The North Korea situation is very convenient too for China and the United States to restart their stalled conversations over cyber-space security that was suspended a few months ago," Xiaohe said.
Chinese media coverage has been critical of the cyber attack on Sony Pictures, but an editorial in the state run Global Times newspaper also wrote that the movie revealed the United States’ “cultural arrogance.”
The paper went on to write that, “Some people in the U.S. have complained that China has been suppressing Hollywood's freedom of creativity through economic power. Actually, China should further stick to principles when dealing with Hollywood. Apparently, it is easier to show the U.S. the economic consequences than trying to reason with them.”