THE UNITED STATES MILITARY has been engaging in war game simulations with China to help prevent future military conflicts and possible cyber attacks.
As British newspaper The Guardian reported today, the two countries have already held two war game meetings last year, due to increasing concerns in Washington regarding Beijing coordinated attacks on western governments and businesses.
The simulations known as "Track 1.5" diplomacy were held in Beijing in June and Washington in December and were organised through the Centre for Strategic and International Studies (CSIS) and Beijing think-tank the China Institute of Contemporary International Relations.
The simulations allow both US and Chinese government officials as well as US intelligence agencies to converse in a more informal setting while achieving conflict management without the need for full-blown talks. They were also arranged to help the US government aid prevention of possible military action if either country believes it is targeted.
The senior fellow and director at CSIS who arranged the meetings, Jim Lewis highlighted in The Guardian's report that the war games are important to reduce the probability of future attacks by China because "the Chinese have a deep distrust of the US".
He added, "They are concerned about US military capabilities. They tend to think we have a grand strategy to preserve US hegemony and they see a direct challenge."
The first of the two exercises saw the US and China describing what they would do if they were attacked by a computer virus like Stuxnet, the malware thought responsible for disabling centrifuges in Iran's nuclear programme. In the second war game, both sides had to describe their reaction if the attack was known to have been launched from the other side.
"The two war games have been quite amazing," Lewis said. "The first one went well, the second one not so well.
"The Chinese are very astute" and have "a sense that they have been treated unfairly," he explained.
The next set of war games will go ahead in May.
Communist Chinese newspaper The People's Daily said last year that linking China to internet hacking attacks was irresponsible.
"As the number of hacking attacks on prominent international businesses and organisations has grown this year, some western media have repeatedly depicted China as the villain behind the scenes," it said.
Meanwhile, a report put out by the World Economic Forum earlier this year rated cyber attacks as the fourth most likely risk to occur over the next 10 years. µ