EU flags. /Reuters
China and Russia stated separately on Friday that they hope to resolve the alleged cyberattacks issue with the European Union through dialogue and cooperation, one day after the EU imposed its first-ever cyber sanctions on Russian, Chinese and DPRK nationals and organizations for alleged involvement in cyberattacks.
China's Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Wang Wenbin stated that China is also a victim of cyberattacks and has been cracking down on such attacks launched inside China or using China's cyber infrastructure in accordance with law.
"Tracing the origin of cyberattacks is a highly complicated and sensitive issue. The international community should address cyber-related disputes through dialogue and cooperation," Wang said, adding China hopes "the EU and its member states will take facts as the basis to form their independent and rational judgments, instead of resorting to punitive or adversarial measures. Otherwise, tension and confrontation will be heightened to the detriment of security and stability in cyberspace."
For Russia's part, the foreign ministry responded that the country is concerned and regrets the EU's move, saying it had invited EU several times to step up a professional dialogue on information-sharing problems, but the EU resorted to unilateral sanctions, which Russia claimed "are absolutely illegitimate from the point of view of international law."
The foreign ministry pointed to the "lame logic" of Brussel's decision, claiming the EU's application of its cyber sanctions mechanism, which was established a year before the incident had taken place back in 2018, violates the fundamental principle that no law can be retroactive.
Moscow said that the EU's practice of unilateral sanctions shows it "prefers the policy of unilateral pressure and restrictions to a serious conversation aiming at settling differences and enhancing mutual trust. Such an approach is leading the world not to the rule-based order the EU partners are so fond of speaking about, ignoring the United Nations central role, but contrarily to further political confrontation and cyber chaos."
"We once again call on the European Union to drop futile attempts to exert pressure and get back to the implementation of the basic norms of international and European law and work out effective rules of preventing conflict in cyberspace," the Russian foreign ministry said.
EU on Thursday sanctioned six individuals accused of cyberattacks against European targets, including two citizens from China and four from Russia, as well as three organizations, one each from China, DPRK and Russia. The sanctions were imposed under the EU cyber sanctions regime adopted in May 2019.