Chinese President Xi Jinping visited the United States on Friday and met with President Barack Obama to discuss economic cyber espionage, climate change and the South China Sea dispute.
Xi’s first U.S. state visit was hosted by Obama where they talked about the differences between the two countries and agreed on several topics. The White House held a press conference at the Rose Garden where it was announced that the leaders made a deal for China to curb its greenhouse gas emissions. China, as the biggest emitter of greenhouse gases in the world has agreed to put a national carbon cap-and-trade system in 2017.
They also addressed the controversy of cyber espionage of Chinese hackers on American corporation, as well as government agencies. Obama reiterated that there will be sanctions put on Chinese cyber criminals.
According to Reuters, he said “It has to stop. The question now is, are word followed by actions?” Xi also repeated his claims that the Beijing government has nothing to do with the cyber theft and that they are a target of such activities too and also said that the problem should not be politicized. He stated “Confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides.”
During a state dinner for Xi on Friday, the two leaders spoke about being friendly and developing better bilateral relations, but Obama also addressed their differences and that the United States will keep urging China to “uphold the rights of all people.”
The talks also included Obama urging China to go through economic reforms in order to avoid discrimination of American companies that operate in China, but reiterated his support for the rising Chinese economy as “stable, prosperous and peaceful.”
The two leaders disagreed on the dispute of the South China Sea where China has been making island-creating efforts and militarizing them, despite territorial claims of China’s neighbors.
According to Reuters, Obama stated “I conveyed to President Xi our significant concerns over land reclamation, construction and the militarization of disputed areas, which makes it harder for countries in the region to resolve disagreements peacefully.”
On the other hand, Xi said that China is committed to resolve any dispute regarding South China Sea peacefully and protect navigation, but dismissed the claims that they are building military strongholds. He stated “Relevant construction activity that China is undertaking in the Nansha Islands does not target or impact any country and there is no intention to militarize. Islands in the South China Sea since ancient times are China’s territory. We have the right to uphold our own territorial sovereignty and lawful and legitimate maritime rights and interests. We are committed to maintaining peace and stability in the South China Sea, managing differences and disputes with a dialogue.”
Chinese President Xi Jinping’s visit to Washington addressed important global issues such as commitment to a series of policies to counter rising temperatures, as well as an agreement on taking new steps on cyber spying, so that neither government will knowingly conduct or support cyber theft. The two Presidents agreed to create a senior expert group to discuss and fight cyber issues. They also agreed on new channels of communication and air-to-air behavior to reduce the risk of miscalculation between the two militaries.