Obama presses new Chinese leader on North Korea, hacking

President Obama on Thursday urged China's new president to try to restrain its troublesome ally North Korea during a call congratulating Xi Jinping following Xi's formal election as president.

Obama “highlighted” the threat North Korea's nuclear and missile programs pose to the United States and the region and “stressed the need for close coordination with China to ensure North Korea meets its denuclearization commitment,” according to a readout of the call. The president also stressed the “importance of addressing cyber-security threats, which represent a shared challenge.” 

“President Obama welcomed China’s G-20 commitment to move towards a more flexible exchange rate,” according to the readout, “and he underscored the importance of working together to expand trade and investment opportunities and to address issues such as the protection of intellectual property rights.”

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The U.S. and China collaborated on the most recent round of sanctions punishing Kim Jong-Un's regime for North Korea's third nuclear test. The world's two largest economies remain at odds on multiple trade issues, however, with the Obama administration now raising pointed concerns about alleged Chinese hacking against U.S. companies.

“Increasingly, U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” National Security Adviser Tom Donilon said Monday. “The international community cannot tolerate such activity from any country.”

Obama signed an executive order on cybersecurity last month. And on Wednesday, he met with the CEOs of some of the country's top tech companies to build momentum for stalled cybersecurity legislation.

Obama also told Xi that Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew would visit the country next week and Secretary of State John Kerry will follow next month. Kerry is making his first trip to Asia in mid-April with stops in China, Japan and South Korea, State Department spokeswoman Victoria Nuland announced Thursday. Kerry's Asia trip follows a meeting with the Group of Eight foreign ministers in London on April 10 and 11.

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