Xi Jinping denies China is responsible for any cyber espionage against the US Federal Government.

When The Great Wall Came To The Wall Street Journal

In a written interview with the Wall Street Journal President Xi has categorically denied that state sanctioned Chinese hackers had anything to do with stealing commercial secrets via cyber espionage. The Chinese Premier went on to say that hacking attacks against commercial and “government networks are both illegal; such acts are criminal offences and should be punished according to law and relevant international conventions,”

china xi jinping

The interview article was released ahead of the Chinese President’s first official visit to the US, and published Tuesday. XI Jinping also went on to say that “China and the United States share common concerns on cyber security. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with the U.S. side on this issue.”

It’s a different story in China

Chinese media have attempted to portray Xi’s US visit as a largely positive affair, with the People’s Daily stressing that more than “40 agreements and deals, including a major one on climate change,” were likely to be approved. Washington however have some serious concerns about some of the things that China has been up to recently.

There are ongoing tensions over disputed waters in the South China Sea, and also the way that Chinese authorities handled the recent financial crisis they had. Chief among US concerns however, is that of cyberespionage.

Sanctions

Only a few weeks ago, the US Government was considering placing economic sanctions against China in retaliation for the alleged hacking of US Federal servers. Up to 4 million government employees personal and professional information was stolen. The hack is not the first time alleged Chinese state sanctioned hacking has taken place either.

Last year, the US Justice Department sought indictments against five high ranking Chinese military officers claiming they were in charge of hackers attempting to infiltrate and steal industry secrets from American companies.

Obama isn’t buying it

Us National Security adviser, Susan Rice, said that Chinese State sanctioned hacking was more than a minor annoyance. “This isn’t a mild irritation. It is an economic and national security concern to the United States. It puts enormous strain on our bilateral relationship, and it is a critical factor in determining the future trajectory of U.S.-China ties.”

When President Obama and Xi meet later this week, the talks are expected to be unusually intense and direct. Some observers have publicly voiced concerns that if a resolution isn’t found soon, a new Cold War between the US and China may be inevitable.