The first cyber warfare agreement between the United States and China is expected to be announced after President Barack Obama and President Xi Jinping’s meeting Thursday, but the ongoing problem of cyber espionage likely won’t be addressed in the treaty.
Both countries have allegedly agreed not to be the first to use cyberweapons to damage critical infrastructure during times of peace, the The New York Times reports.
Tensions between the two countries have escalated in recent months over allegations the Asian superpower hacked into the federal government’s network, stealing information on approximately 21.5 government workers and contractors, an accusation Beijing adamantly denies.
While banking, power grid and hospital systems would be protected under the agreement, intellectual property theft would not be safeguarded by the treaty — a crime that costs the U.S. around $400 billion a year.
The tools used for poaching information also wouldn’t be covered in the deal, according to the Times.
The White House is currently preparing economic sanctions against Chinese companies in response to the hack into the Office of Personal Management’s system, which security experts traced back to the country.
“This isn’t a mild irritation, it’s an economic and national security concern to the United States,” National Security Adviser Susan Rice said during a speech at George Washington University Monday. “It puts enormous strain on our bilateral relationship, and it is a critical factor in determining the future trajectory of U.S.-China ties.”
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