Pentagon chief Esper concerned about Chinese hacking, espionage

Warns Beijing ‘trying to use emerging technologies to alter the landscape of power’

The U.S. needs to do more to account for Chinese students studying at the nation’s top universities and research institutions to make sure American technology remains within the nation’s borders, Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told an audience Friday morning at the Center for Strategic and International Studies.

“We need to be more conscious of who is in our schools and universities and what they’re doing – what they’re doing and what their purpose is,” Mr. Esper said. “For defense programs, we need to know who is working on our initiatives — whether it’s basic or advanced research.”

Mr. Esper cited the Defense Department’s national defense strategy that identifies both China and Russia as America’s leading adversaries in an era of great power competitions, but noted China’s technological threats bear greater scrutiny.

China is “trying to use emerging technologies to alter the landscape of power and reshape the world in their favor — and often at the expense of others,” Mr. Esper said. “The Chinese government is using its diplomatic, military and economic power to advance its aims in ways that are heavy handed, often threatening and usually contrary to international rules and norms.”

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Author: Dian Welle