China doesn’t engage in hacking, says president
China does not steal commercial secrets in any form, nor does it encourage or support domestic companies engaging in such practices, Chinese President Xi Jinping said in an interview released on Tuesday.
His remarks followed allegations by Washington of China-backed cyberattacks on the US.
The claims came ahead of the arrival of Xi and first lady Peng Liyuan in Seattle on Tuesday at the start of the president’s four-day state visit to the US.
“China takes cybersecurity very seriously. China is also a victim of hacking,” Xi told The Wall Street Journal in a written interview.
He said cybertheft of commercial secrets and hacking attacks against government networks are both illegal; such acts are criminal offenses and should be punished according to law and international conventions.
“China and the United States share common concerns on cybersecurity. We are ready to strengthen cooperation with the US on this issue.”
US President Barack Obama said on September 16 during a meeting with business executives that the US is ready to act against China over hacking.
In Beijing, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said ahead of Xi’s departure that cybersecurity will be one of the main topics in the president’s meeting with Obama.
China will firmly protect its own interests in cyberspace and is resolutely opposed to any statements or actions that harm its interests, he said.
Teng Jianqun, director of the Department of American Studies at the China Institute of International Studies, said Beijing and Washington have shared goals on cybersecurity, while their disagreements lie in their different understanding, desire and focus on the issue.
“In China, with the Internet deeply integrating with almost every industry, it is easy to understand how much the government cares about it,” Teng said.
“China has always highlighted cybersecurity in a general context, including at strategic level, but the US focuses more on the commercial field.”
Su Ge, president of the institute, said that as a country with 700 million Internet users, “cybersecurity is of course a top concern for China”.
“There have been too many reports made to the Chinese authorities of hacking from abroad. China and the US have huge room for cooperation in the protection of cybersecurity.”
Discussing China’s relations with the US, Xi said, “One should see the larger picture and not just focus on differences. … Naturally, we have some differences－even family members don’t always see eye to eye.
“As a Chinese saying tells us, ‘When important things are addressed first, secondary issues will not be difficult to settle’. ”
Referring to issues that cannot be resolved now, Xi said, “We should manage them in a constructive way, make sure that they are not exacerbated or escalated, and prevent them from derailing the overall relationship of the two countries and cooperation that has served our two peoples so well.”
The president will stay in Seattle for two days before heading for Washington DC. In Seattle, he will visit Boeing, Microsoft and meet with business leaders and a group of US governors.
Agence France-Presse reported that Xi’s stop in Washington state will shore up support from big business. The US state has already welcomed three Chinese leaders－Deng Xiaoping, Jiang Zemin and Hu Jintao.