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Tuesday, 22 January 2019

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21 March 2013

Cybersecurity threatens US-China relationship, White House official says

Chinese leaders must address cybersecurity threats emanating from their country on “an unprecedented scale” or risk weakening the economic relationship between Beijing and the United States, White House national security adviser Tom Donilon said some days ago.

“U.S. businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyberintrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale,” said Donilon.  “The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country.”

The remarks, delivered to The Asia Society in New York, are the first by a White House official to specifically name China as a threat to U.S. cybersecurity.

Though Donilon focused mainly on the danger to U.S. businesses, he did acknowledge the risk such an attack could pose to U.S. national security.  He said that the issue has become “a key point of concern and discussion with China at all levels of our governments” and that President Barack Obama has vowed to do what is necessary to protect America’s interests against cyberattacks.  

During last month’s State of the Union address, Obama highlighted how vulnerable America’s financial institutions, power grid and air traffic control systems could be to an attack.  The president, who has signed an executive order to help address those concerns, called on Congress to pass comprehensive legislation that would better secure online networks to help protect against attacks.