After two days of discussion, the US and China have come to an agreement regarding cybercrime and cyberespionage. The agreement covers a very specific situation. Both countries agreed not to participate in government-sponsored cyberespionage for the commercial benefit of companies. The deal does not rule out the possibility of governments running cyberespionage operations for their own foreign policy goals. The deal also improves the cooperation of law enforcement in both countries in investigations related to cybercrimes.
President Obama stated in a press conference, “We have agreed that neither the U.S. or the Chinese government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information for commercial advantage.” However, Obama appeared somewhat skeptical of China’s willingness to follow through with this agreement when he stated, “The question now is, are words followed by actions. We will be watching carefully to make an assessment as to whether progress has been made in this area.”
Chinese president Xi indicated that disagreements between the two countries should be avoided, and stated the importance of cooperation. Through an interpreter he said, “We should strengthen dialogue and cooperation. Confrontation and friction are not the right choices for either side.” Both countries have stated their intention to work together to establish “rules of the road” governing international conduct in cyberspace.
One elephant in the room that was not addressed was whether or not China would hand over five hacking suspects who were indicted last year. Without an extradition agreement with China, the US has no way of putting the suspects on trial for the crime they are accused of. However, both leaders avoided talking about the issue, so it is unclear if the suspects will ever be extradited.
Is this cybercrime agreement between the US and China going to be beneficial to both countries? Leave your comments below.