Published On: Wed, Mar 27th, 2024
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EU embarrassment as bloc acts slow on China attacks only after US and UK warnings | World | News

Dozens of European MPs have fallen victim to Chinese cyberattacks over the past few years. The disclosure did not come from within the European Union but was rather exposed by US prosecutors.

The US Department of Justice issued an indictment late Monday, pointing fingers at Chinese hackers allegedly linked to the national spy agency, the Ministry of State Security. The targets were Members of the Inter-Parliamentary Alliance on China (IPAC), a coalition critical of Beijing, spanning across all European Union member states.

According to the indictment, some 66 MPs from EU countries were identified as targets.

The European Parliament stated that its own MEPs were not targeted, at least according to the available information.

While the UK and the US swiftly responded to the Chinese cyber threats, imposing sanctions and initiating legal action, the reaction from EU member states has been notably slow.

Foreign Secretary Lord David Cameron emphasised the importance of defending democratic values in the face of such threats, urging other nations to follow suit.

However, the response from the European Union has been marked by silence, raising questions about the bloc’s preparedness and willingness to tackle cyber threats originating from China.

The lack of decisive action stands in stark contrast to the robust approach touted by the UK government, which has faced its own criticisms regarding its China policy.

During a session with the Commons Liaison Committee, Prime Minister Rishi Sunak defended the UK’s stance on China, insisting it was more robust compared to most allies. He cited examples such as the removal of Huawei equipment from telecommunications networks and restrictions on sensitive technology exports to China.

Nevertheless, concerns linger among backbench Conservatives and others who argue that the government’s actions have not been sufficiently assertive. Education Secretary Gillian Keegan labeled China as an “obvious security threat,” echoing sentiments shared by critics.

Despite mounting pressure, Downing Street has remained cautious about altering its stance on China, refraining from labelling it as a direct threat.

The Prime Minister’s spokesman highlighted the absence of a designated process under UK law or within allied countries for such a classification.

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