Two weeks ago, the Financial Times ran a story that suggested China was sticking by its September 2015 commitment to not engage in cyber-enabled economic espionage. It quoted officials from private sector security firms, who pointed out they had seen a marked decline in the number of intrusion attempts from Chinese actors. Despite the seemingly positive news, there are still tons of skeptics.
In a recent National Bureau of Asian Research paper, Tang Lan from the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations and I explore the relationship between both countries on cyber issues. We unpack how China perceives U.S. interests in cyberspace and vice versa. We conclude that, despite wide gaps on issues like Internet governance, supply chain security, and cybersecurity, both sides "appear committed to not letting cyber issues derail the U.S.-China relationship." To manage the cyber relationship and prevent escalatory activity, both countries should:
- Ensure that discussions on norms continue at the highest levels and aren’t cut off during times of tension;
- Discuss joint measures such as intelligence exchanges to prevent the proliferation of cyber capabilities to non-state actors; and
- Expand cooperative research in universities and civil society.
You can read the full paper, free of charge until June 19, here.