US-China espionage will crush prospects for technology cooperation

TECHNOLOGY has become a new battlefield in US–China relations. But it could also be an arena for immense cooperative possibility if the framework underpinning two-way technology flows is fair, equitable and reciprocal. There should be no space to secure under-handed advantages via cyber-enabled intellectual property (IP) theft. Fair competition and technology cooperation are two sides of the same coin.

In this regard, the course of US–China trade and investment relations in the decade ahead could well hinge upon two events set just hours apart at the turn of November 2018.

On 1 November, US Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced the establishment of a China Initiative within the Department of Justice to combat Chinese economic espionage.

US accusations of China’s state-linked, cyber-enabled economic theft are as long-standing as China’s ‘indigenous innovation’ plans, starting with the 2005 Medium-and-Long Term Science and Technology Development Plan.

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