The tense relationship between the U.S. and China could loosen up in the future, as the two countries just reached an agreement to curb economic cyberespionage.
U.S. President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping have agreed to a cyberspace truce, with each side promising not to hack the other or engage in any commercial cyber spying.
Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson issued a joint statement on Friday, Sept. 25, outlining the new agreement between the U.S. and China over cyber issues.
Both the U.S. and China have committed to doing their part to address the cyber issues and take steps to resolving this issue. As part of the new deal, both sides committed to increase law enforcement communications related to malicious online activities such as breaches of sensitive information. At the same time, both the U.S. and China will respond to requests for information in a timely manner, as well as offer assistance when necessary regarding such cyber activities.
At the same time, both parties agree not to spy on each other, breach each other's corps, steal intellectual property or industry secrets.
"The United States and China committed that neither country's government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors," notes the statement.
The two countries also pledged to form a group of senior experts for further communication regarding cyber affairs.
"I raised, once again, our very serious concerns about growing cyberthreats to American companies and American citizens. I indicated that it has to stop," said President Obama. "The United States government does not engage in cyber economic espionage for commercial gain, and today I can announce that our two countries have reached a common understanding on a way forward."
While it marks a notable step forward in the right direction, however, this progress doesn't mean that everything is sorted out just yet. There's still plenty of work to be done in this area, with the potential to further boost the cooperation between the U.S. and China.
These new commitments from both the U.S. and China are an important milestone, but Obama highlights that they don't resolve all challenges between the two countries when it comes to cyber issues.
Cyberespionage and hack attacks have consisted one of the most severe causes of concern that led to the deterioration of the relationship between the two nations, but reciprocal efforts could bridge that gap and reduce disagreements in this area.
"The United States is prepared to fulfill our commitments and make reciprocal efforts. We expect China to do the same and have been clear with the Chinese government that their words must be matched by actions."