Agreement comes on last day of Chinese President Xi Jingping’s visit to US
The United States and China have agreed to put their differences behind them and work together to tackle the increasingly growing threat of cybercrime.
Speaking at a joint news conference at the White House, US President Barack Obama said that he and his Chinese counterpart, President Xi Jingping, had agreed that neither country would engage in cyber economic espionage in the future.
The announcement of the deal came on the final day of Xi’s US tour, and follows rumours that the US was planning to enforce ‘cyber-sanctions’ on China following a series of attacks.
Speaking at the press conference, President Obama retained a firm stance against cybercrime, saying that any escalation in alleged Chinese criminal activities against the US would prompt sanctions.
“It has to stop,” he said. “The question is now, are words followed by action?”
Reflecting on the use of sanctions against either individuals, businesses or state-run companies, he said: “We will apply those, and whatever other tools we have in our tool kit, to go after cybercriminals either retrospectively or prospectively.”
Speaking through a translator, President Xi, who recently visited some of Silicon Valley’s leading technology companies, said that the US and China would not “knowingly support” such practices and said they would both abide by “norms of behaviour” in cyberspace.
“Confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides,” said Mr Xi.
Going forward, the two nations have agreed to co-operate with any requests to investigate cybercrimes, collect electronic evidence and mitigate malicious cyber activity emanating from their territories.
The two governments have also agreed that neither would conduct nor knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the internet of providing competitive advantages to individual companies or commercial sectors.
Under the new agreement, the US and China have also committed to working towards the identification and promotion of appropriate norms of state behaviour in cyberspace within the international community.
In order to formulate this, the countries will seek to create a group of senior experts to discuss the topic, and will also establish a new high-level joint dialogue mechanism for further discussions, with the first meeting to be held by the end of the year, followed by semi-annual meetings.
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