Kerry vows to press China on hacking

Secretary of State John Kerry said Tuesday that the U.S. will not “agree to disagree” with China on cyber issues and that state-sponsored Chinese hacking is on the table at this week’s talks.

“We are convinced that it is in China’s interest to help put an end to this practice,” Kerry told a crowd at the Johns Hopkins School of Advanced International Studies in Washington.

{mosads}Chinese hackers are assumed responsible for a slate of attacks targeting the U.S. government and economy. But China has pushed back in recent weeks, accusing the U.S. of attacking the Chinese government as well.

The back-and-forth has many expecting a contentious cybersecurity discussion, when Kerry travels to Beijing for an Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation meeting later this week. President Obama will join him next week.

“Foreign companies will invest more in China if they can be confident that when they do, their intellectual property will be safeguarded,” Kerry said Tuesday in a speech stressing the countries’ common ground, even on divisive issues.

“Chinese markets will be more attractive to international industries if China shows that it’s serious about addressing global cyber concerns,” he said.

Foreign companies’ security within China made headlines last month, when Apple released its iPhone 6 in the country. The Chinese government was widely suspected of being behind a hack of Apple’s cloud storage service, possibly to track protesters in Hong Kong.

Apple CEO Tim Cook later met with Chinese officials to exchange thoughts on data security.

The U.S. has moved past rhetoric in its admonishment of Chinese cyberattacks, indicting five members of the Chinese military for hacking in May. In retaliation, China pulled out of the U.S.-China Cybersecurity Working Group.

Yet, both sides have insisted they are willing to address cybersecurity this week.

“The United States is committed to using an open and frank dialogue to help build trust and help develop common rules of the road for this pressing economic and security challenge,” Kerry said.

Tags China John Kerry

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