2012-05-20 (China Military News cited from Reuters and by Paul Eckert and Phil Stewart) — The Pentagon said on Friday it believes China spent up to $180 billion on its military buildup last year, a far higher figure than acknowledged by Beijing, and it accused “Chinese actors” of being the world’s biggest perpetrators of economic espionage.
China rejected the report as irresponsible, saying the United States was spreading a “China military threat” theory.
The Pentagon, in its annual report to Congress on China’s military, flagged sustained investment last year in advanced missile technologies and cyber warfare capabilities and warned that Chinese spying threatened America’s economic security.
“Chinese actors are the world’s most active and persistent perpetrators of economic espionage,” the report said.
“Chinese attempts to collect U.S. technological and economic information will continue at a high level and will represent a growing and persistent threat to U.S. economic security.”
David Helvey, acting assistant secretary for defense, stopped short of saying the Chinese government was behind cyber intrusions, and instead repeated that they were “from China.”
“As we learn more about them, we have a better understanding of the nature of the operations and that helps us to say with greater confidence that some of these are in fact coming from China,” he told reporters in a briefing on the annual report.
Analysts said espionage and aggressive acquisition of dual-use technology could accelerate China’s military modernization.
The United States could be in for a surprise in 2013-15 if “China successfully exploits it extensive cyber-espionage efforts and unveils new weapons systems that are on par with U.S. systems,” said Capital Alpha Partners LLC, a investment analysis group, in a research note on the Pentagon report.