Double agent 'contradicts' trust with US

Updated: 2014-07-08 07:25

By Ren Qi (China Daily USA)

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China and Germany are both victims of hacking attacks, Premier Li Keqiang said, and German Chancellor Angela Merkel said a case of a German agent spying for US intelligence would be a "clear contradiction" of trust between the allies.

China resolutely opposes hacking attacks as well as the use of the Internet to steal commercial secrets or intellectual property, Li said at a news conference with Merkel in Beijing on Monday.

"China will engage in dialogue and consultation to protect the security of the Internet," Li said.

Merkel said, "If the allegations are true, it would be, for me, a clear contradiction as to what I consider to be trusting cooperation between agencies and partners."

The comments marked her first public remarks on the arrest last week of a 31-year-old man suspected of spying for US intelligence services.

German prosecutors allege the man handed more than 218 documents to US intelligence between 2012 and 2014.

The case risks further straining German-US ties, which have been sorely tested by revelations last year of large-scale snooping on Germany by the US National Security Agency, said Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies.

The United States has been trying to repair relations with Germany, which were damaged by its monitoring of Merkel's cellphone, but this new case made US efforts worthless, Ruan said.

He said trust in the US has been lost by its European partner, and the double agent case may boost European reliance on its own technological security.

But Ye Hailin, a researcher of international relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said relations between Germany and the US won't be greatly affected.

The scandal can be considered as a problem to be solved, instead of an obstacle never to be surmounted, he said.

"Although Berlin is dissatisfied with the double agent allegation, Germany still hoped to downplay the case, because the German-US alliance is pretty important for Merkel," Ye said.

(China Daily USA 07/08/2014 page1)