Obama Expected to Discuss Cybersecurity In June Meeting With Chinese President

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By Alexei Alexis  


Cybersecurity will probably be a topic of discussion in President Obama's upcoming meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping, White House spokesman Jay Carney said May 28.

Obama and Xi are expected to meet June 7-8 in California to discuss a range of bilateral, regional, and global issues. The meeting comes amid growing concerns about China being a primary source of cyber-attacks against U.S. computer networks.

“Cybersecurity is a key priority of this administration,” Carney told reporters. “It is a key concern that we have. It is an issue that we raise at every level in our meetings with our Chinese counterparts, and I'm sure [it] will be a topic of discussion when the president meets with President Xi in California in early June.”

He noted that the issue came up during National Security Advisor Tom Donilon's recent trip to China.

China Linked to 'Cyber-Espionage.'

Earlier this month, the Defense Department issued a report that said China has engaged in activities designed to support military procurement and modernization through theft of trade secrets and economic espionage (12 PVLR 815, 5/13/13).

Another report, released in February by Alexandria, Va.-based computer security firm Mandiant Corp., linked the Chinese government to a sophisticated hacking unit responsible for stealing hundreds of terabytes of data from as many as 141 organizations, headquartered in the United States and other English-speaking nations, since at least 2006 (12 PVLR 310, 2/25/13).

The Chinese government has denied being involved in such activities.

Meanwhile, under legislation that has been introduced in the Senate, the Deter Cyber Theft Act (S. 884), the Director of National Intelligence (DNI) would be required to compile an annual report with details on foreign countries that engage in economic or industrial espionage in cyberspace against U.S. firms or individuals, including a priority “watch list” of the worst offenders.

In addition, the president would be required to block imports of products containing stolen U.S. technology or made by a company the DNI has identified as having benefited from theft of U.S. technology or proprietary information. The measure would also bar the import of products made by state-owned enterprises of nations on the DNI's priority watch list that are similar to items identified in the DNI's report as stolen or targeted U.S. technology.

The bill is pending before the Senate Finance Committee.