"These are issues that we're going to deal with, frame up, put up at the top of the agenda," he told the Voice of America.
His comments come after China's recent alleged hack of U.S. weapons designs, as well as a number of other reported attacks.
Hagel said the U.S. government is being careful not to anger China over the concerns and that he hopes private conversations about the issue will prove more fruitful.
"We intend to use all these venues and that closer cooperation and closer venue-building to hopefully get us in a position where we can get some better understanding, closer understanding of what these rules of the road are," Hagel said.
Hagel's trip to Singapore is his first to Asia as secretary of defense.
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