China and Canada have agreed to cease cyberattacks aimed at each other’s private sectors, reports said Monday (June 26).
Late last week, high-level officials in Canada met and agreed that China will no longer continue state-sponsored cyberattacks on Canadian corporations aimed at stealing trade secrets and technology, reports said. Senior Communist Party official Wang Yongqing and Canada’s national security and intelligence adviser to Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, Daniel Jean, met in Ottawa to call a truce.
“The two sides agreed that neither country’s government would conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information, with the intent of providing competitive advantages to companies or commercial sectors,” said an official statement issued jointly by China and Canada.
The agreement only applies to economic espionage, reports noted, and not China cyberattacks on Canadian government or military, as has occurred in the past. In 2014 China waged a cyberattack on Canada's National Research Council, reports said.
But according to one unnamed official who was a part of the talks held late last week, the agreement signals progress.
“This is something that three or four years ago [Beijing] would not even have entertained in the conversation,” the official told The Globe and Mail. “For us, having the commitment on paper is good because we can refer to it. The fact that we do this doesn’t mean we won’t be vigilant, but at the same time if things happen we can go back” to this commitment.
Reports said Trudeau had previously held a phone meeting with Chinese Premier Li Keqiang to discuss free-trade talks.
China has been heading hacks on Western corporations to steal intellectual property and other valuable data assets for years, according to the U.S., which signed its own, similar agreement with China in 2015, reports said.