Philippines' accusing China of 'cyberattack' seen as another way to be a pawn of the US: experts
Published: Feb 07, 2024 01:39 AM
Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Illustration: Chen Xia/GT

Accusations from Philippine officials about a cyberattack and even linking it to the South China Sea issue are the actions of a pawn of the US, Chinese experts said on Tuesday.

In response to the accusations of China launching a cyberattack against the Philippines, a spokesperson for the Chinese embassy in the Philippines issued a statement on Monday, strongly condemning the baseless claims and unfounded speculation by certain officials and media outlets.

An information and communications ministry official from the Philippines claimed China was behind a hacking operation targeting the Philippine government and officials, Reuters reported on Tuesday.

The mailboxes of the Department of Information and Communications Technology (DICT), the website of the National Coast Watch, and the personal website of Philippine President Ferdinand Marcos Jr were among the targets of the hacking operations that occurred in January, claimed DICT spokesperson Renato Paraiso.

The Chinese spokesperson also criticized the connection made between these allegations and the maritime disputes between China and the Philippines, deeming such words and actions to be highly irresponsible.

The Chinese government has been resolutely opposed to any form of cyberattack, the spokesperson said. The embassy also stressed that global cooperation is necessary to cope with cybersecurity, which is a global challenge.

Using cyberattack accusations to smear a country is an old trick, and it is not surprising to see the Philippines using it to stir up the South China Sea issue, Zhuang Guotu, head of Xiamen University's Southeast Asian Studies Center, told the Global Times on Tuesday.

The comprehensive confrontation between China and the US is becoming more obvious, Zhuang noted. When the US is overwhelmed by issues in Ukraine and the Middle East, the Philippines is acting as its pawn to contain China in the Asia Pacific region.

Since last year, the Philippines has been continuously taking action in the South China Sea despite repeated warnings from China. The Philippines has repeatedly intruded into the waters near Huangyan Dao (Huangyan Island) and Ren'ai Jiao (also known as Ren'ai Reef), and has illegally transported construction materials to Ren'ai Jiao in an attempt to achieve permanent occupation.

On Monday, the Chinese coast guard said it expelled a Philippine coast guard ship that intruded into waters adjacent to Huangyan Dao.

Zhuang said that since President Ferdinand Marcos Jr. came to power, misunderstanding about China has increased in the Philippines.

"It is thoughtless to risk damaging China-Philippines relations and traditional friendship by simply acting as an American pawn," Zhuang said.