On Friday, two influential personalities of the world, President Obama and President Xi Jinping of China, came together to discuss the impending threat of cyber theft. In the past, the United States accused the Chinese government of launching cyber attacks to gain access to intellectual property that could pose a danger to the United States if exposed to the public or sold to their enemies.
In order to put a stop to this persistent hacking problem, the leaders reached a mutual understanding with both of them agreeing that neither country will participate in intellectual property theft of confidential government documents. However, President Obama also made it a point to let the public know that in the event China breaches their agreement, they will take strict action against the country.
In the meeting that lasted for two hours behind closed doors at the White House, President Obama warned the Chinese president that he would detain, charge the perpetrators of infiltrating intellectual property, and impose sanctions.
With neither country wanting to start a cyber attack war, it is safe to say that both countries, especially China will hold their end of the bargain. This was further reinforced by President Obama stating, “We will together seek international rules of the road for appropriate conduct in cyberspace.”
What people wanted to know was if China would keep their word? President Obama addressed this concern saying, “And we will be watching carefully to make an assessment as to whether progress has been made in this area.” The United States will watch every action and movement within China closely.
In China’s defense, President Xi Jinping did state that they have already put in place measures to prevent cyber attacks. However, neither president addressed the issue of the cyber theft of security dossiers, which affected about 22 million Americans from the Office of Personnel Management. If you recall, the United States claimed that China was behind this massive breach, but perhaps, this was not the time to open old wounds, as this was a time to come to an agreement to stop and prevent the constant cyber attacks from occurring hereafter.
The Chinese president wanted the world watching to know that: “Confrontation and friction are not the right choice. Confrontation will lead to losses on both sides.” This basically means that we will not be bringing up the issue of the stolen dossiers.
This has been the third meeting between the two leaders in past three years with people concluding this as a step in the right direction in improving the relationship amongst these two countries.
Apart from cyber theft, the presidents also discussed climate change with the Chinese president announcing his commitment to begin a national cap-and-trade system in the year 2017 to control greenhouse gas emissions. Both presidents have the same goal—to persuade the summit meeting in Paris in December to reach a global climate agreement.
Even though the two countries do not see eye to eye on key issues, the presidents did not let their different viewpoints come in between of dealing with issues that are most important to address and resolve.