Obama presses China over cyber security
China’s Premier Li Keqiang (C) stands up after he being named as the new premier, while President Xi Jinping (R) applauds during a plenary session. AP photoU.S. President Barack Obama wasted no time in courting China’s new President Xi Jinping on March 14, calling him within hours of his elevation, and then pressing him on cybercrime and North Korea.
The White House said Obama congratulated Xi on his new position and promised regular high-level engagement on economic and security challenges on which Beijing and Washington have been increasingly at odds in recent months.
The two leaders committed to engage in an ongoing discussion to address the cyber issue, White House deputy national security adviser Ben Rhodes told reporters on March 14. “Given our significant concerns in this space we need to ensure protection for our citizens, our security and our businesses,” he said. Earlier this week, U.S. intelligence leaders said for the first time that cyber attacks and cyber espionage had supplanted terrorism as the top security threat facing the United States. U.S. businesses are increasingly alarmed about the targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber intrusions emanating from China.
The issue has suddenly soared to the top of the U.S.-China agenda.