May 19, 2013
US, China discuss cyber security dispute
Computer security is a ‘shared challenge,’ says Obama
WASHINGTON — President Barack Obama took mounting concerns about computer hacking straight to China’s president yesterday in a sign of how seriously the United States takes the threat of cyber attacks emanating from China.
A day after meeting with US corporate CEOs in the White House Situation Room about cyber threats, Obama spoke by phone with Chinese President Xi Jinping about the cyber issue as well as North Korea’s nuclear challenge, currency and trade issues.
A White House statement said Obama “highlighted the importance of addressing cyber security threats, which represent a shared challenge.”
Earlier this week, US 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.
US businesses are increasingly alarmed about the targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber intrusions.
“The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country,” White House National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said this week.
China’s Parliament formally elected heir-in-waiting Xi president yesterday, completing the country’s second orderly political succession since the Communist Party took power in 1949.
The largely rubber-stamp National People’s Congress chose Xi in a tightly scripted ceremony at the Great Hall of the People in central Beijing, putting the final seal of approval on a generational transition of power.
Xi was appointed party and military chief — where real power lies — in November.
The 59-year-old was also elected head of the Central Military Commission, a parallel government post to the party’s top military position which he already holds, ensuring that he has full power over the party, state and armed forces.
There was virtually no opposition among the carefully selected legislators to Xi becoming president. Xi drew just one no vote and three abstentions from the almost 3,000 delegates.
Obama congratulated Xi on his new position during the call yesterday and both agreed on the value of regular high-level discussions. To that end, Obama noted that US Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will visit China next week to be followed in coming weeks by Secretary of State John Kerry, a White House statement said.
Obama and Xi also discussed North Korea’s nuclear challenge. After a new round of UN sanctions took effect recently, North Korea declared invalid the 1953 armistice agreement that ended its war with South Korea.
Herald with AP, Reuters