Chinese cyber actions against the United States is coming to a head.
Sanctions punishing China for hacking U.S. companies could drive Beijing to cancel President Xi Jinping’s upcoming U.S. visit, according to experts and former administration officials.
The Asian power is increasingly anxious about the potential of economic penalties ahead of what’s seen as an important summit for the future of the U.S.-China relationship.
“The Chinese right now are getting very concerned, because they understand this will create embarrassing optics around the visit for them,” said Samm Sacks, China analyst at the Eurasia Group, a political risk consulting firm, who has advised government agencies on Chinese tech policy.
While some experts and former White House cybersecurity officials are wary the administration will aggravate Beijing just days before Xi lands in Washington, current officials have privately indicated sanctions may be imminent.
The Obama administration is trying to staunch the rise of China-based cyberattacks pummeling American companies and government agencies. In recent months, the White House has grown more vocal in its public condemnation of Beijing’s cyber espionage, recently calling out China in the White House’s updated National Security Strategy for hacking the U.S. private sector.
Obama’s lack of leadership on cyber security is putting our American interests at grave risk. When foreign powers have our information, they can use it to blackmail government employees or contractors. The seriousness of the issue is getting bipartisan anger.
Both the right and left have also bashed the administration for what some say is a feckless approach to cybersecurity.
“They have no policy,” Senate Armed Forces Committee Chairman John McCain (R-Ariz) told The Hill. “We need to have a policy as to how to address the issue.”
Senator John McCain has continually called for increased cyber security measures and increased cyber response.