Despite major differences on cyberspace policy between the United States and China, a recent development at the United Nations illustrates basic areas of agreement. The United States and China were among 15 countries affirming the applicability of international law to cyberspace in a 2013 UN report. The same group will gather in 2014 to address some of the more challenging and divisive concepts regarding state responsibility and use of force in cyberspace. Any fractures in the debate at this meeting will likely reflect some of the major differences between the United States and China on cyberspace policy.
Revised March 22, 2014.
After the publication of this report on September 5, 2013, Microsoft brought to the authors’ attention new information about its partnership with Chinese company 21Vianet. The original version of the report inaccurately characterized certain aspects of the Microsoft-21Vianet partnership. A revised discussion of this partnership is provided on pages 32-34. The authors would like to thank Microsoft for their assistance in clarifying the details of 21Vianet’s Windows Azure service.
In early 2014, a Chinese surface action group carried out a sophisticated training exercise spanning the South China Sea (SCS), eastern Indian Ocean, and Philippine Sea. The People’s Liberation Army (PLA) Navy used the 23-day deployment to improve operational proficiencies for antisubmarine warfare, air defense, electronic warfare, and expeditionary logistics; train to seize disputed islands and reefs in the SCS; enhance its ability to conduct integrated and multi-disciplinary operations; and demonstrate to the Indo-Pacific region that China’s combat reach now extends to the eastern Indian Ocean.
The U.S.-China Economic and Security Review Commission was created by the United States Congress in October 2000 with the legislative mandate to monitor, investigate, and submit to Congress an annual report on the national security implications of the bilateral trade and economic relationship between the United States and the People’s Republic of China, and to provide recommendations, where appropriate, to Congress for legislative and administrative action.