President Barack Obama will "no doubt" address concerns about China's cybersecurity when Chinese President Xi Jinping visits the U.S. for a meeting next month, White House officials told Reuters Wednesday. The meeting comes amid rising tensions over Chinese operatives allegedly hacking U.S. government personnel records.
The massive data breach, discovered in April, involved an estimated 18 million current, former and prospective federal employees at the Office of Personnel Management, CNN reported. Obama has not publicly acknowledged the hack and officials are reportedly under strict instructions to avoid blaming China in the media.
“One of the conclusions we’ve reached is that we need to be a bit more public about our responses, and one reason is deterrence,” a senior administration official told the New York Times in July. “We need to disrupt and deter what our adversaries are doing in cyberspace, and that means you need a full range of tools to tailor a response."
The Justice Department may pursue criminal charges against individuals or organizations involved in the OPM hacks, the Washington Times reported earlier this month.
Meanwhile, Wisconsin Gov. Scott Walker has called on Obama to cancel the meeting for other reasons, pointing to the economic meltdown this week in China that sent shockwaves through global markets. Walker, a Republican presidential candidate, has started a petition on his website to pressure Obama to "immediately cancel the state visit."
We can't let China continue its aggression. We need to start showing some backbone. Cancel their state visit: http://t.co/34b383cCLE
— Scott Walker (@ScottWalker) August 25, 2015
"Why would we be giving one of our highest things a president can do -- and that is a state dinner for Xi Jinping, the head of China -- at a time when all of these problems are pending out there?" Walker said Monday. "We should say those ... honors should only be bestowed upon leaders and countries that are allies and supporters of the United States, not just for China, which is a strategic competitor."