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Homeland Security

US, China Agree to Refrain From Cyber Theft, Economic Espionage

Sputnik News

19:51 25.09.2015(updated 21:50 25.09.2015)

The United States and China agreed not to engage in cyber-related theft of intellectual property or economic espionage, the White House said in a press release on Friday.

WASHINGTON (Sputnik) – Washington has blamed Beijing for launching a massive cyberattack against the US Office of Personnel Management. The attack, made public in June, compromised the personal data of more than 21 million current and former US government employees.

However, China's President Xi Jinping has denied US accusations that his government authorized cyberattacks on US companies to steal commercial secrets.

'The United States and China agree that neither country's government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,' the release said.

China will also select a ministerial level official to work with the United States on fighting cybercrime and other internet-related security issues.

'The United States and China agree to establish a high-level joint dialogue mechanism on fighting cybercrime and related issues,' the release stated. 'China will designate an official at the ministerial level to be the lead and the Ministry of Public Security, Ministry of State Security, Ministry of Justice, and the State Internet and Information Office will participate in the dialogue.'

Meanwhile, US President Barack Obama said during a joint press conference with Xi Jinping in Washington that the US expected China to demonstrate it would not sponsor cybercrime and pledge to use all means to prosecute cybercriminals.

'What I can guarantee and what I am hoping President Xi will show me is that [they] are not sponsoring these activities,' Obama said. '[A]nd when it comes to our attention that non-governmental entities or individuals are engaging in this stuff that we take it seriously, and we are cooperating to enforce the law.'

Obama pledged the United States would do everything to prosecute those engaging in cyberattacks against companies or trying to extract trade secrets or data.

'We did not at our level have specific discussions of specific cases, but I did indicate to President Xi that we will apply those, and whatever other tools we have in our toolkit, to go after cyber criminals either retrospectively or prospectively,' Obama noted.

The US president explained that Washington had traditional law enforcement tools at its disposal, and could impose sanctions on individuals or entities where it has a proof that they had attacked US companies or persons.

'Those are tools generally that are not directed at governments, they are directed at entities or individuals we can identify. They are not unique to China. Those are tools that we are going to be using for cyber criminals around the world,' Obama added.


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