PHNOM PENH / HANOI, July 22 (Hfrance.fr) - Buried in a long indictment American accusing China of a global cyberespionage campaign was a curious detail: among the governments targeted by the Chinese hackers was Cambodia, theone of Beijing's staunchest Asian allies.
The target of the hack, who, according to two sources with knowledge of the indictment, was the Cambodia's Foreign Ministry, was also revealing - discussions between China and Cambodia over the use of the Mekong River, which has become a new battleground for US and Chinese influence in Southeast Asia. .
Four Chinese nationals - three security officials and a hacker - have been charged in the United States with attacks targeting dozens of people. businesses, universities and government agencies in the United States and abroad, the United States Department of Justice said on Monday. . learn more
The reaction of the accused named in the indictment was nott not available immediately.
The accusations, which China said were fabricated and politically motivated, were described in an act of 30-page accusation from a US court detailing the activities of what it said was a Chinese state security-run shell company in Hainan, a Chinese island province near South Asia -Is.
Among the targets of the hackers was "Cambodian government ministry A ", according to the indictment, in which they "stole data relating to discussions between the governments of China and Cambodia over the use of the Mekong River " in January 2018.
This ministry was the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Cambodia, said two sources with direct knowledge of the indictment Hfrance.fr.
The Chinese Embassy in Cambodiage did not respond to two email requests from Hfrance.fr for comment. In an article posted to its WeChat email account, the embassy dismissed the US allegations and said it had not received any requests for comment from Hfrance.fr.
In response to questions from Hfrance.fr, the Chinese Foreign Ministry said the accusations were baseless and that the United States was the biggest source of cyber attacks in the world.
A The spokesman for the Cambodian Foreign Ministry questioned the Telecommunications Ministry, which declined to comment. Government spokesman Phay Siphan declined to comment.
'SECRETS AND DATA '
The 4,350 km (2,700 miles) long Mekong River, known as the Lancang in its upper reaches, flows from theChina along the s of Myanmar, Laos and Thailand via Cambodia and Vietnam, where it has supported farming and fishing communities for millennia.
Like the South China Sea, the Mekong River has become a front in the US-China rivalry, with Beijing overtaking Washington in terms of spending and influence on downstream countries. at the mercy of his control of the waters of the river.
According to indictment, Chinese hackers obtained data from Cambodian ministry on same day Cambodia hosted cooperation leaders Lancang-Mekong (LMC) supported by China. summit with China, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam in Phnom Penh, the Cambodian capital, on January 10, 2018.
The data obtained by the hackers concerned these discussions, the indictment says, without giving moree details.
On the same day, hackers hid and transmitted "trade secrets and proprietary hydroacoustic data " in the digital images of a koala and United States President Donald Trump, according to the indictment. He said the material was sent to an online account controlled by hackers.
It was not clear whether the hydroacoustic data - data collected by sonar and used to monitor underwater features - came from the Mekong region.
Last week, US Secretary of State Antony Ben told Southeast Asian foreign ministers that the United States supports a "free and open Mekong region" under the Washington-backed Mekong-United States regime. Partnership. read moreread Report by Prak Chan Thul in Phnom Penh, James Pearson in Hanoi and Beijing newsroom Editing by Robert Birsel and Mark Heinrich
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