The US today called for "serious steps" by China to stop cyber-enabled theft emanating from the country on an unprecedented scale, and stressed that such an activity was intolerable to the international community.
"Increasingly, US businesses are speaking out about their serious concerns about sophisticated, targeted theft of confidential business information and proprietary technologies through cyber intrusions emanating from China on an unprecedented scale," Tom Donilon, National Security Adviser to the US President said.
"The international community cannot afford to tolerate such activity from any country. As the President said in the State of the Union, we will take action to protect our economy against cyber-threats," Donilon said.
"From the President on down, this has become a key point of concern and discussion with China at all levels of our governments. And it will continue to be. The US will do all it must to protect our national networks, critical infrastructure, and our valuable public and private sector property," he said, in his address to the Asia Society in New York.
"But, specifically with respect to the issue of cyber- enabled theft, we seek three things from the Chinese side," Donilon said.
"First, we need a recognition of the urgency and scope of this problem and the risk it poses to international trade, to the reputation of Chinese industry and to our overall relations," he said.
"Second, Beijing should take serious steps to investigate and put a stop to these activities. Finally, we need China to engage with us in a constructive direct dialogue to establish acceptable norms of behavior in cyberspace," Donilon said, adding that the Obama Administration has worked hard to build a constructive bilateral relationship that allows engaging forthrightly on priority issues of concern.
"And the US and China, the world's two largest economies, both dependent on the Internet, must lead the way in addressing this problem," he said.
Devoting a considerable part of his speech on US-China relationship, Donilon said that Obama places great importance on this relationship because there are few diplomatic, economic or security challenges in the world that can be addressed without China at the table and without a broad, productive, and constructive relationship between the two countries.
"As China completes its leadership transition, the Administration is well positioned to build on our existing relationships with Xi Jinping, Li Keqiang and other top Chinese leaders. Taken together, China's leadership transition and the President's re-election mark a new phase in US-China relations, with new opportunities," he said.
Donilon said the US-China relationship has and will continue to have elements of both cooperation and competition.
"Our consistent policy has been to improve the quality and quantity of our cooperation; promote healthy economic competition; and manage disagreements to ensure that US interests are protected and that universal rights and values are respected," Donilon said.
"As President Obama has made clear, the US speaks up for universal values because history shows that nations that uphold the rights of their people are ultimately more successful, more prosperous and more stable," he said.
Reiterating that the US welcomes the rise of a peaceful, prosperous China, he said, the US does not want the relationship to become defined by rivalry and confrontation.
"I disagree with the premise put forward by some historians and theorists that a rising power and an established power are somehow destined for conflict. There is nothing preordained about such an outcome. It is not a law of physics, but a series of choices by leaders that lead to great power confrontation," Donilon said.
"Others have called for containment. We reject that, too. A better outcome is possible. But it falls to both sides-the US and China to build a new model of relations between an existing power and an emerging one. Xi Jinping and President Obama have both endorsed this goal," he said, adding that the two countries must keep improving their channels of communication and demonstrate practical cooperation on issues that matter to both sides.