The National  Memo Logo

Smart. Sharp. Funny. Fearless.

Monday, December 09, 2019 {{ new Date().getDay() }}

WASHINGTON (AFP) – The United States called Thursday on China to abide by what it called international rules in areas from cyber-hacking to freedom at sea as the world’s two largest economies waded into key disputes.

Chinese and U.S. officials were wrapping up an annual two-day meeting designed to address the gamut of issues in their complicated relationship, with both sides looking for at least small ways to expand cooperation.

In a sign of the importance he attaches to managing ties with the rising Asian power, President Barack Obama — who generally meets only leaders from other nations — plans to receive the two main Chinese delegates at the White House.

Obama has invested time in seeking a smooth relationship with China’s newly installed President Xi Jinping, meeting him for a weekend at a California desert resort last month, but has also stepped up the tone on hacking.

For the second day in a row, the United States raised charges that China has waged a vast hacking campaign to steal U.S. trade and government secrets, costing the economy billions of dollars through the counterfeiting of products.

“As major powers looking to forge a new model of relations, our countries have a responsibility to show restraint in our actions and abide by the rules meant to govern international affairs,” Deputy Secretary of State William Burns told a session.

“This means respecting the universality of human rights and addressing cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property,” Burns said.

Burns also called on China to “uphold the freedom of navigation” in the economically vital waterways of Asia, where U.S. allies Japan and the Philippines as well as Vietnam accuse Beijing of aggressively exerting its claims.

“Adhering to these and other global rules will help reduce uncertainty and, in turn, strengthen global security and increase steady economic growth,” Burns said.

A U.S. official said that Secretary of State John Kerry on Wednesday was “very forceful” on human rights concerns in China and raised specific cases. Burns later filled in for Kerry, who returned to Boston to see his hospitalized wife.

Vice President Joe Biden raised hacking concerns when he opened the talks on Wednesday, saying that “outright” theft by China “must be viewed as out of bounds and needs to stop.”

China insists it is also the victim of hacking and has demanded answers after U.S. intelligence leaker Edward Snowden charged that U.S. spies had worked their way into the billion-plus nation’s Internet network.

Chinese officials, who often bristle at U.S. criticism, took a measured tone during the dialogue, whose format of formal, heavily scripted meetings is seen as appealing to Beijing.

Foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, asked in Beijing about Biden’s remarks, said only that the two countries can make cyber-security “a new highlight of our bilateral cooperation instead of the source of friction.”

Chinese Commerce Minister Gao Hucheng, addressing reporters on the sidelines of the talks, spoke of progress on reaching a treaty to protect and encourage investment between the two countries.

“We hope that on top of what has been done, both sides can initiate their negotiations on substantive parts of the bilateral investment treaty as soon as possible,” he said.

Gao declined to give a more specific timeframe for the treaty, over which talks began five years ago.

The United States and China announced Wednesday that they would step up cooperation on fighting climate change, although their agreements were general in tone.

The two countries — which together pump out more than 40 percent of carbon blamed for the planet’s warming temperatures — said they would chart out plans by October in five areas including reducing emissions from heavy-duty vehicles.

Climate change is seen as a key area for collaboration as the leaders of both countries both see an interest in addressing the problem, even if Obama’s efforts are hobbled by opposition in Congress.

Christiana Figueres, head of the UN climate body, called the agreements “welcome and important” and said that such efforts can help pave the way for an elusive successor treaty to the Kyoto Protocol.

Advertising

Start your day with National Memo Newsletter

Know first.

The opinions that matter. Delivered to your inbox every morning

Al Franken guest hosts on Jimmy Kimmel Live

Image via YouTube

Since his much-lamented resignation from the United States Senate, Al Franken has started his own podcast, made some TV and radio appearances, and is currently on tour across the country -- but his profile rose sharply this week when he guest-hosted Jimmy Kimmel Live.

Instead of dwelling on the good news of President Biden signing the Inflation Reduction Act, Franken's monologue drilled into another existential threat facing our nation. No, not the “enormous gaps in wealth and income” nor the “threats to our democracy,” but rather a peril that has troubled him since his Senate days.

Keep reading... Show less

Rudy Giuliani arrives at Fulton County courthouse in Atlanta, Georgia on August 17, 2022

(Reuters) - Rudy Giuliani, Donald Trump's onetime personal lawyer, arrived at an Atlanta courthouse on Wednesday to testify in a Georgia criminal probe examining attempts by the former U.S. president and his allies to overturn the 2020 election results.

Giuliani, who helped lead Trump's election challenges, was due to testify before a special grand jury in Fulton County after a judge ordered him to comply with a subpoena. His lawyers say he will refuse to answer questions that violate attorney-client privilege.

Keep reading... Show less
{{ post.roar_specific_data.api_data.analytics }}