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Biden Urges China to Stop Cyber Theft

Trade Tops US, China Talks Wednesdayi
July 11, 2013 10:42 AM
Trade issues topped the opening on Wednesday of strategic and economic talks between the United States and China. As VOA State Department Correspondent Scott Stearns reports, U.S. business leaders say the high-level talks are an opportunity for U.S. officials to push for lower trade barriers.
Related video report by Scott Stearns
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U.S. Vice President Joe Biden made a forceful call for China to stop cyber theft, during annual talks between the two world powers in Washington.

In his opening remarks Wednesday, Biden said China must end the "outright" theft of intellectual property, which recent reports say has cost the U.S. hundreds of billions of dollars a year.

Biden's speech also stressed areas of common interest, but did not ignore sensitive topics such as U.S. concerns about China's human rights record and economic reforms.

On human rights, Biden acknowledged differences, but said he believed China will be stronger, stabler and more innovative if it respects international human rights norms.

U.S. officials said Secretary of State John Kerry was "very forceful" during private discussions on human rights, and raised "specific issues" with the Chinese delegation.

Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi said Beijing is ready to discuss rights, but only on the basis of "equality and mutual respect." Vice Premier Wang Yang stressed Beijing cannot accept views that undermine its political system.

China analyst Scott Kennedy with Indiana University tells VOA there are no signs that China's new Communist Party leaders are interested in political reforms.

"This new leadership, although quite progressive potentially in terms of economic reform, I think they still have the same outlook for the political system as their predecessors did," he said.

Some rights groups had called for Obama administration to publicly raise rights concerns, such as China's treatment of government critics, restrictions on free speech, and policies in ethnic areas such as Tibet.

Thursday's agenda includes discussion on a wide range of economic issues. The U.S. wants China to allow the value of its yuan currency to rise. It has also complained about Chinese restrictions on foreign investment.

In his remarks Wednesday, U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew welcomed China's commitments to further open up its economy, but called on Beijing to do more to "decisively" follow through on such promises.

Although analysts expected the meetings to produce few tangible results, the two sides were able to agree Wednesday on greater cooperation to reduce greenhouse gases and air pollution.

But cyber theft was said to be at the top of the agenda for U.S. officials, who have warned that the issue could become a major obstacle for U.S.-China relations. Prior to the start of the dialogue, the two sides held their first-ever working group on cyber security.

Washington and Beijing have recently traded accusations of cyber hacking attacks.

The Obama administration has accused China of involvement in a broad Internet hacking campaign to steal secrets from U.S. government institutions and businesses for economic gain.

China has denied the accusations, saying it is the victim and not the perpetrator of such attacks. It has become more outspoken on the issue since leaks by ex-U.S. spy agency contractor Edward Snowden revealed alleged widespread U.S. cyber espionage on Chinese targets.

The White House has argued that there is a difference spying for intelligence-gathering purposes and spying for economic and commercial gain. Economist Gary Hufbauer of the Washington-based Peterson Institute tells VOA it is unclear whether China accepts this difference.

"I think they understand there's a distinction, but I think they tend to blur it, because they see a company like Lockheed Martin or Boeing as part of the U.S. military effort and therefore fair game for cyber espionage," he said.

U.S. and Chinese officials say they reached an agreement at the working group meeting to expand cooperation on cyber security. But Hufbauer said he expects progress to be slow on the issue.

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Comment Sorting
by: mark from: Nan Ning China
July 11, 2013 5:24 AM
Thanks VOA posted my comment. I have been listening VOA English Programs more than five years. Listen and read news from VOA is part of my life.
Now I believe VOA doesn’t serve US government policy interests. Thanks VOA!


by: Laowai
July 11, 2013 12:25 AM
China will never fully comply with US intellectual property laws. The essence of communism is to share everything. The essence of dictatorship (with Chinese characteristics) is to deny everything. The patent troll's worst enemy.
In Response

by: stupid laowai from: CA
July 11, 2013 9:17 AM
western democracy does not work now, your democracy is just a slogan to comfort youselves, your democracy is just a joke in the eye of God.

by: mark from: Nan Ning, China
July 10, 2013 4:10 PM
U.S. Vice President Joe Biden says Chinese cyber-theft of U.S. intellectual property must stop.
Mr. Biden The Whole world Demand Your Explanation on NSA Spying Allegations
United States Politicians are Liars and the Reall Bunch of Goons and Thugs.
In Response

by: Patrick from: BJ
July 12, 2013 11:25 PM
“There is a difference spying for intelligence-gathering purposes….” It is unclear whether countries all over the world accept this difference except The White House.
In Response

by: remie from: canada
July 11, 2013 6:27 AM
@Mark , you r sooo blind. China does worst in all around spying, human rights, cheating ,stealing and bullying
In Response

by: Eddy Z from: China
July 10, 2013 11:35 PM
Mr. Biden Would you pls make any comments on Snoden

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