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China’s Use of Cyber Warfare: Espionage Meets Strategic Deterrence

Claims cyber warfare will be a central element in China’s foreign policy due to three key reasons: “deterrence through infiltration of critical infrastructure; military technological espionage to gain military knowledge; and industrial espionage to gain economic advantage. Argues China has more to gain from cyber warfare than the United States, tracks China’s progress in utilizing cyber warfare tactics as part of its foreign policy, cites past examples of cyber attacks including cyber intrusions on a nuclear arms laboratory, cyber attacks on defense ministries and the U.S. electric grid (Joint Strike Fighter, Pentagon, and Merkel), and its current conflict with Google. Argues China is also the victim of many cyber attacks from other actors. Concludes the United States and other western countries should overestimate China’s cyber capabilities. Concepts of cyber warfare are: Computer-Network Exploitation (CNE), Computer-Network Attack (CAN), and Computer-Network Defense (CND), all of which are covered under the term “informationization” in China. Chinese military strategists see informanization as a powerful asymmetric opportunity in deterrence strategy.
Magnus Hjortdal
CHINA-SEC, Centre for Military Studies, University of Copenhagen
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Information & Telecommunication
Internet & Cyberspace
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