News / Asia

Analysts: Hacking Charges Won't Lead to US-China Trade War

FILE - John Bumgarner, a cyber warfare expert who is chief technology officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit group that studies the impact of cyber threats, holds a notebook computer while posing for a portrait in Charlotte.
FILE - John Bumgarner, a cyber warfare expert who is chief technology officer of the U.S. Cyber Consequences Unit, a non-profit group that studies the impact of cyber threats, holds a notebook computer while posing for a portrait in Charlotte.
Cyber espionage charges by the U.S. against five Chinese military officers will complicate Washington's relationship with Beijing, but analysts do not expect it to result in a trade war or wider disruption of ties.

The U.S. on Monday accused the People's Liberation Army officers of hacking into and stealing trade secrets from the computers of several large American nuclear, metal and solar companies.

The move represents a bold change in tactic by the Obama administration, which has long complained of alleged Chinese cyber theft that is said to have cost U.S. companies billions of dollars.

China reacted quickly and furiously, denying the charges as "made up" and telling U.S. Ambassador Max Baucus on Tuesday that the case has "seriously harmed" the U.S.-China relationship.

Kerry Brown, who heads the University of Sydney's China Studies Center, told VOA the dispute over hacking has become a significant irritant to bilateral ties. But he expects the fallout to be limited.

"I think that it's going to be a contentious issue, but I don't think we're going to get an issue of having an all-out trade war or even beyond that an actual conflict over some of the other political issues they have at the moment," Brown said.

So far, the only concrete response by China has been to pull out of a regular discussion with the U.S. on cyber theft, though Beijing has hinted more moves may be coming.

A Chinese official quoted anonymously Tuesday in the state-run People's Daily threatened Beijing will "take measures to resolutely fight back" if the U.S. continues "going on its own way."

Brown, a former British diplomat, said Beijing could decide to target U.S. companies in China in response. "China will feel very contained and threatened by this and it may well up the ante by basically picking on those companies that have very big activities and very big interests in China," he said.

One possibility is that Beijing could target U.S. businessmen, much like when it charged a British executive with the London-based GlaxoSmithKline pharmaceutical giant on bribery charges last week.

But Steve Tsang, the director of the China Policy Institute at Britain's University of Nottingham, said any retaliation will take into consideration the level of inter-dependence between the world's two largest economies.

"It is the single most important relationship in the world today. It is extremely important to China, as it is to the United States," said Tsang. "Neither government would want to put that relationship at risk and I don't think we're going to see as a result of this any forthcoming trade war between the two countries or anything like that."

The U.S. has long said Chinese cyber theft has hurt American companies' competitiveness on the global market and costs American workers jobs.

But until recent months, Washington officials had been reluctant to directly accuse the Chinese military of involvement in the hacking.

In making the announcement Monday, U.S. officials said negotiations and dialogue had failed to fix the problem and that a new tactic is necessary.

Some information for this report was provided by Reuters.

You May Like

Video Iran Nuclear Deal Becomes US Campaign Issue

Voters in three crucial battleground states - Florida, Ohio and Pennsylvania - overwhelmingly oppose nuclear deal with Iran More

Al-Qaida's Syria Affiliate Reemerges

Jabhat al-Nusra has rebounded, increasingly casting itself as a critical player in battle for Syria’s future More

Lessons Learned From Katrina, 10 Years Later

FEMA chief Craig Fugate says key changes include better preparation, improved coordination among state, federal assistance agencies More

Featured Videos

Your JavaScript is turned off or you have an old version of Adobe's Flash Player. Get the latest Flash player.
Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalatesi
X
August 27, 2015 2:08 AM
Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Colombians Flee Venezuela as Border Crisis Escalates

Hundreds of Colombians have fled Venezuela since last week, amid an escalating border crisis between the two countries. Last week, Venezuelan President Nicolas Maduro ordered the closure of a key border crossing after smugglers injured three Venezuelan soldiers and a civilian. The president also ordered the deportation of Colombians who are in Venezuela illegally. Zlatica Hoke reports.
Video

Video Is China's Economic Data Accurate?

Some investors say China's wild stock market gyrations have been made worse by worries about the reliability of that nation's economic data. And some critics say the reports can mislead investors by painting an unrealistically-strong picture of the economy. A key China scholar says Beijing is not fudging ((manipulating)) the numbers, but that the economy is evolving quickly from smoke-stack industries to services, and the ways of tracking new economic activity are falling behind the change. V
Video

Video Next to Iran, Climate at Forefront of Obama Agenda

President Barack Obama this week announced new initiatives aimed at making it easier for Americans to access renewable energy sources such as solar and wind. Obama is not slowing down when it comes to pushing through climate change measures, an issue he says is the greatest threat to the country’s national security. VOA correspondent Aru Pande has more from the White House.
Video

Video Shipping Containers Provide Experimental Housing

Housing prices around the San Francisco Bay area are out of reach for many people, so some young entrepreneurs, artists and tech industry workers are creating their own houses using converted shipping containers. But as VOA's Mike O’Sullivan reports from Oakland, the effort requires ingenuity and dealing with restrictive local laws.
Video

Video Arctic Draws International Competition for Oil

A new geopolitical “Great Game” is underway in earth’s northernmost region, the Arctic, where Russia has claimed a large area for resource development and President Barack Obama recently approved Shell Oil Company’s test-drilling project in an area under U.S. control. Greg Flakus reports.
Video

Video Philippine Maritime Police: Chinese Fishermen a Threat to Country’s Security

China and the Philippines both claim maritime rights in the South China Sea.  That includes the right to fish in those waters. Jason Strother reports on how the Philippines is catching Chinese nationals it says are illegal poachers. He has the story from Palawan province.
Video

Video Technique May Eliminate Drill-and-Fill Dental Care

Many people dread visiting dentists because they're afraid of drills. Now, however, a technology developed by a British firm promises to eliminate the need for mechanical cleaning of dental cavities by speeding a natural process of tooth repair. VOA’s George Putic reports.
Video

Video China's Spratly Island Building Said to Light Up the Night 'Like A City'

Southeast Asian countries claim China has illegally seized territory in the Spratly islands. It is especially a concern for a Philippine mayor who says Beijing is occupying parts of his municipality. Jason Strother reports from the capital of Palawan province, Puerto Princesa.
Video

Video Ages-old Ice Reveals Secrets of Climate Change

Ice caps don't just exist at the world's poles. There are also tropical ice caps, and the largest sits atop the Peruvian Andes - but it is melting, quickly, and may be gone within the next 20 years. George Putic reports scientists are now rushing to take samples to get at the valuable information about climate change locked in the ice.
Video

Video French Experiment in Integrating Roma Under Threat

Plans to destroy France’s oldest slum have sparked an outcry on the part of its Roma residents. As Lisa Bryant reports from the Paris suburb of La Courneuve, rights groups argue the community is a fledgling experiment on integrating Roma who are often outcasts in many parts of Europe.
Video

Video Kenyans Turn to Agriculture for Business

Each year Kenyan universities continue to churn out graduates for the job market despite the already existing high rate of unemployment among youth in the country. Some of these young men and women have realized that agriculture can be as rewarding as any other business or job, and they are resorting to agribusiness in large numbers as a way of tackling unemployment. Rael Ombuor reports for VOA.
Video

Video First Women Graduate Elite Army Ranger School

Two women are making history for the U.S. Army by proving they are among the toughest of the tough. VOA's Carla Babb reports from Fort Benning, Georgia as 94 men and those two women rise as graduates of the difficult Ranger school.

VOA Blogs