US, China Agree Not to Cyber-Attack Each Other

Obama Says This Includes Support for Intellectual Property

Very little was expected out of the meeting between President Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping, but President Obama is claiming that the two sides have reached a deal whereby they both agree not to deliberately carry out cyber-attacks against one another.

The deal was couched as getting China to repudiate past attacks, though in many cases there wasn’t much evidence China was behind those attacks in the first place, and the caveat that they will only stop “knowingly” attacking each other likely means both sides will continue such moves so long as they have a plausible excuse.

President Obama also insisted this extended to mutual respect for international intellectual property “rules of the road,” though since both the US and China have starkly different systems of intellectual property laws, it isn’t at all clear how this will actually work.

Before President Xi’s visit, the White House suggested they would be “confronting” him on the question of cyber-attacks, particularly the OPM hack, the largest in US history. At the same time, the US has officially ruled out ever publicly blaming China for that attack, so their options in that regard were limited.

Author: Jason Ditz

Jason Ditz is senior editor of