China’s Cyber Spies Just Warming Up: China’s cyber espionage campaign to grab US aerospace technology is likely to continue and even escalate in the next few years, said Phillip Saunders, National Defense University’s Chinese military expert. China’s propensity to reverse-engineer hardware has soured the technology-sharing relationships China formerly had with Russia as well as Israel. China has come a long way in developing indigenous production, but still lacks the capability to produce key military-specific items, such as high-performance jet engines. Since China is under military export embargo by the US and Western Europe, it is left with the option of either developing the technology itself, or stealing it outright. “They’ve made a lot of progress fast because they had so much catching up to do … when you get out toward that technology frontier it becomes much harder to innovate,” Saunders explained at AFA’s Air & Space Conference, Monday afternoon. With Russia and Israel withholding help for political or economic reasons, “we see an increasing emphasis on espionage trying to acquire critical technologies, critical components, and critical design information to help china make that next leap,” he concluded.
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