World briefs: U.S. prods China on cyberspying

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WASHINGTON -- American officials focused on the hacking of corporate secrets during the first meeting of a U.S.-China cybersecurity group in Washington, downplaying their own spying operations exposed by a former government contractor.

The Obama administration officials raised accusations Wednesday that the Chinese government is responsible for hacking into companies' computers to steal intellectual property, according to an official at the meeting who asked to remain anonymous due to the sensitive nature of the discussions.

U.S. accusations against the Chinese government have been overshadowed in recent weeks by leaked classified material from former National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, including that the U.S. has hacked computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009.

China's missile arsenal

WASHINGTON -- China's military has the world's "most active and diverse ballistic missile program," with an expanding inventory of nuclear warheads that can reach the U.S., according to a Pentagon intelligence report.

The arsenal includes a new submarine-launched JL-2 ballistic missile that will "for the first time allow Chinese" submarines "to target portions of the United States from operating areas located near the Chinese coast," according to the new assessment by the National Air and Space Intelligence Center.

China is expanding its missile programs as the Pentagon pursues a policy of putting more emphasis on U.S. forces in the Asia-Pacific region.

Ancient writing found

BEIJING -- Archaeologists say they have discovered some of the world's oldest known primitive writing, dating back about 5,000 years, in eastern China, and some of the markings etched on broken axes resemble a modern Chinese character.

The inscriptions on artifacts found at a relic site south of Shanghai are about 1,400 years older than the oldest written Chinese language. Chinese scholars are divided over whether the markings are words or something simpler, but they say the finding will shed light on the origins of Chinese language and culture.

Also in the world ...

Pakistani President Asif Ali Zardari's chief security officer was killed in a bombing in the port city of Karachi on Wednesday. ... A Palestinian from the Gaza Strip who disappeared in Egypt last month is being detained by Israel for "security crimes," an Israel court confirmed Wednesday.

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