China wants international peace pact online and under water

UN Ambassador calls for rules on peaceful co-operation on humanity'new frontiers'

China has outlined its preferred framework for international rules on internet governance, couching them as a push for peaceful development of the four “new frontiers” of “outer space, cyberspace, deep sea and polar regions.”

Wang Qun, China's ambassador to the United Nations (UN) and director-general of the nation's Ministry of Foreign Affair, last week addressed the UN and outlined China's hope that the worlds can “ensure the peaceful development and use of … new frontiers to the benefit of the entire mankind.”

Wang's speech paid special attention to the online world, noting that the “closer link between the cyberspace and the real world we are living” means “it is highly necessary and pressing for the international community to jointly bring about an international code of conduct on cyberspace at an early date.”

China wants that code of conduct to specify five things:

  1. Compliance comply with the UN Charter and other universally recognized basic norms governing international relations
  2. Respect for the cyberspace sovereignty of each state
  3. Resolution of international disputes in this field by peaceful means
  4. Cyberspace only to be utilized for activities for the maintenance of international peace and security
  5. Cyberspace should not be used as a means to interfere in the internal affairs of other states or to the detriment of the latter’s national interests.

China's mightily peeved at the USA's online espionage activities and can always mention Edward Snowden when expressing its ire, as doing so rather dents any deniability Washington may attempt to muster. The Communist nation's also indignant when accused of any online espionage of its own, declaring such suggestions baseless and unfair.

The truth is probably somewhat different: any national defence effort that doesn't boast a digital dimension is negligently inadequate in this day and age.

Wang, however, wrapped his speech by saying “China, for its part, will continue to commit itself to establishing a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace and pushing for an early international code of conduct acceptable to all.”

And well he might, as with global internet governance arrangements up for grabs, pushing for a peaceful internet on stages like the UN gives China a better platform from which to bid for a role. ®

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