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IPI Cybersecurity Fellow Celia Louie on US China Cooperation in Cybersecurity 

September 12, 2017

It is clear that the U.S. and China have shared cybersecurity interests, but having these concerns mirrored in sustained cooperation is a work in progress. The agreement still appears to be promising in targeting economically-motivated espionage, and might stand as a basis for expanding the agreement or for other bilateral cybersecurity agreements.

While the agreement has increased the level of conversation and appears to have decreased the number of cyberattacks against U.S. companies, it is unclear whether these attacks actually have decreased or if they are not as easily detected with the increased sophistication of cyber attacks. A reduction in economic espionage could ease bilateral tensions but there are still areas of focus that have gaps.

The U.S.-China Cybersecurity agreement seems promising, but only if there remains discourse and efforts to effectively decrease economic espionage. Above all, an updated U.S. cybersecurity plan needs to be formulated in order to move forward and to work towards better relations with China to decrease cyber espionage. In regards to future agreements, the U.S.-China agreement if proven effective, could serve as a model for future bilateral cybersecurity agreements as seen with the China-Australia agreement.

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East Asia Center

Henry M. Jackson School of International Studies
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