President Barack Obama will raise concerns about cyber security with Chinese President Xi Jinping when they meet in Washington later this month amid rising U.S. worries about Chinese hacking of American government and commercial targets, the White House said on Monday.
White House spokesman Josh Earnest said he did not have any updates on the timing of potential sanctions against China related to cyber attacks. U.S. officials held meetings last week with Meng Jianzhu, secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Chinese Communist Party, to discuss cyber concerns.
"I think we've been pretty blunt in describing the concerns that we have with China's behavior in cyberspace. We have been blunt in our assessment that has significant consequences for our economy and for our national security," said Earnest, speaking aboard Air Force One as Obama was flying to Iowa.
The official's visit, ahead of Xi's trip, showed the Chinese government understood the United States was serious about its concerns, Earnest said.
The Obama administration is considering targeted sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies for cyber attacks against U.S. commercial targets, several U.S. officials have said. Chinese hackers have also been implicated in the massive hacking of the U.S. government's personnel office disclosed this year.