Newspaper article The Canadian Press

MacKay Presses Chinese Minister on Cyberattacks in Beijing Meeting

Newspaper article The Canadian Press

MacKay Presses Chinese Minister on Cyberattacks in Beijing Meeting

Article excerpt

MacKay presses China on cyberattacks

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OTTAWA - Defence Minister Peter MacKay said he laid down clear "markers" Monday in talks in Beijing on how to curb cyberattacks originating in China.

MacKay told his counterpart, Gen. Chang Wanquan, that Canada expects China to establish a "greater rapport" with other countries and play by a "rules-based framework" on the Internet.

"I did lay down markers with my defence counterpart here in China, made if very clear that this is an issue of real concern to Canada," MacKay said in a telephone interview from Beijing, where he became the first Western defence minister to hold talks with China's new defence minister on his home turf.

"It is obviously the issue of deliberate hacking and invading systems for nefarious purposes that we're concerned about."

MacKay said he encouraged China "to become more engaged in a rules-based framework that protects critical infrastructure, that protects systems throughout the world and allows for the free flow of information."

MacKay delivered his message days before cybersecurity issues come to the fore at a summit at a California resort between U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

MacKay's visit also came two days after he saw Chuck Hagel, his U.S. counterpart, issue a stern public warning to China about cyberattacks at a large security symposium in Singapore.

"The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber-intrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military," Hagel told the International Institute for Strategic Studies' Asia Security Summit.

Hagel was immediately challenged in the public forum by Chinese officials who were in attendance.

MacKay, who attended the Singapore summit prior to his trip to Beijing, said he took note of Hagel's pointed comments and asked various ministers at that gathering "whether they had certain messages and certain issues that they wanted conveyed or addressed" in Beijing.

MacKay, now NATO's longest-serving defence minister, will report back on his China discussion to his 27 alliance counterparts when they meet Tuesday in Brussels, where cybersecurity is expected to be the major topic. …

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