US blunt in describing cyber concerns to China: White House

The US has been "pretty blunt" in describing its concerns to Chinese authorities on cyber space, the White House has said ahead of the state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.

PTI| Updated: Sep 15, 2015, 08:35 AM IST

Washington: The US has been "pretty blunt" in describing its concerns to Chinese authorities on cyber space, the White House has said ahead of the state visit by Chinese President Xi Jinping later this month.

"We've been pretty blunt in describing the concerns that we have with China's behavior in cyberspace. We have been blunt in our assessment that has significant consequences for our economy and for our national security," said White House Press Secretary Josh Earnest yesterday.

"We certainly were pleased to have the opportunity to have that discussion with the Chinese, and I would anticipate that that discussion will continue when the President has the opportunity to meet with his counterpart," he said.

Last week, top officials of the Obama Administration including the National Security Advisor Susan Rice had meetings with the visiting Chinese politicians Meng Jinazhu ? who is considered to be the top Chinese official on cyber security issues.

"He is often described as the point person in the Chinese government for cyber issues," he said.

"I do think that Secretary Meng's visit does illustrate that the Chinese government understands that the Obama administration is very serious about the level of concern we have with China's activity in cyberspace," Earnest said.

"And whether that is, last year, the announcement of the indictment against five Chinese military officials for hacking, or other concerns that we've raised about China's activity publicly, it should be clear to everyone in the United States, the same way that I now think it's clear to Chinese officials, that this is an issue that the President himself is quite concerned about," he said.

Earnest said President Barack Obama on previous occasions when he met with his counterpart has raised this concern.

"I would anticipate that he'll do so in their next meeting, as well," he added.

He refused to entertain questions on possible sanctions against China on cyber security issues.

"While there certainly are areas of competition between the United States and China, there are also important areas of cooperation," he said.

"Whether it's on climate issues or confronting Iran over their nuclear program, we have been able to effectively coordinate with the Chinese to advance the interests of the citizens of both of our countries," he added.

And I'm confident that there will be extensive discussion of some of those issues, as well,' he said in response to a question.