China and US Agree Truce on Cybercrime
Tensions have been growing in recent years when it comes to US-China relations. It is thought to be a sign of wider struggles to do with what constitutes proper and acceptable behaviour over the internet, otherwise known as Cyberspace.
But in meetings and a joint news conference last week, US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping agreed to take steps to address cybercrime.
The two presidents have reached an agreement in which neither country will engage in cyber economic espionage. What this ultimately means is that spying on each other’s governments is fine, but not spying on companies in the other country for commercial gain.
National security information isn’t covered in the agreement, but the theft of trade secrets is. Of course, both countries deny taking part in the cyber theft of such trade secrets, but both want it to cease happening.
President Obama spoke of a common understanding between the two nations that neither should knowingly support or conduct the cyber theft of intellectual property and that any such cyber attacks would not be acceptable.
The Chinese president happily agreed and said, “Confrontation and friction are not the right choice. Confrontation will lead to losses on both sides.”
However, President Obama has warned that the US will be watching to make sure China keeps its word, and that anything to the contrary will result in serious sanctions for the offending nation.
“It has to stop,” he declared. “The question: ‘Are words followed by actions?’”
During the meetings, President Xi also pledged to llimit greenhouse gas emissions with a cap-and-trade scheme, something the American president thanked him for.
This scheme would see companies in China being charged if they an amount of pollutants beyond the specified level.
On top of this, China said it would commit $3.1 billion (£2 billion) to helping developing countries reduce their carbon emissions. This is along with other initiatives outlined in a fact sheet provided by the White House on China’s and the US’s joint national carbon emissions trading schemes set to launch in 2007. These actions from China would align the country’s climate work with that of the US.
Of course, the conference was not all smiles and agreements. As expected, there were still some areas of contention.
For example, President Obama expressed concerns about the growing tensions in the South China Sea, where China is reclaiming islands. The American president said that although the US has no territorial claims to those islands, it wants to make sure all of the rules are properly being followed.
President Obama also criticised China’s human rights record, informing President Xi that China won’t be able to live up to its potential unless journalists, lawyers, and other such professionals are able to operate freely.
But that negativity aside, the truce should pave the way to mending some of the relations between the US and China. The presidents even announced a new initiative, “One Million Strong“, which will hopefully see a million students in the US learning to speak Mandarin by 2020.