Barack Obama confronted China President Xi Jinping over allegations of cyber theft yesterday but they agreed to tackle climate change at a Californian summit.

The U.S. President privately presented Xi with detailed evidence of intellectual property theft emanating from China, according to the Huffington Post.

While Obama did not address the media, his national security advisor Tom Donilon said the direct theft of U.S. property would hurt relations between the two countries if not resolved.

 
Agreement: U.S. President Barack Obama, pictured right, confronts China President Xi Jinping on cybersecurity but both agree to tackle climate change and take action on North Korea

Agreement: U.S. President Barack Obama, pictured right, confronts China President Xi Jinping on cybersecurity but both agree to tackle climate change and take action on North Korea

While there were reportedly few clear policy breakthroughs on cybersecurity, Chinese officials said Xi opposed all forms of cyberspying and claimed no responsibility for attacks against the U.S.

‘Cybersecurity should not become the root cause of mutual suspicion and frictions between our two countries,‘ Yang Jiechi, Xi’s senior foreign policy adviser, told reporters.

‘Rather, it should be a new bright spot in our cooperation.’ In about eight hours of talks over two days at the sweeping Annenberg Retreat in California, the leaders also took a significant step toward tackling climate change.

The men announced that their countries had agreed for the first time to partner on reducing hydrofluorocarbons, a potent greenhouse gas used in refrigerators, air conditioners, and industrial applications.

Donilon said discussions on North Korea were also fruitful, with the leaders agreeing the rogue state had to be denuclearized.

North Korea is estimated to have a handful of crude nuclear devices, with some analysts putting its arsenal at four to eight plutonium bombs.

While China is Pyongyang’s strongest ally and economic benefactor, Xi has signaled a growing impatience with North Korea’s unpredictable and provocative nuclear threats.

‘China has taken a number of steps in recent months to send a clear message to North Korea, including though enhanced enforcement of sanctions and through public statements by the senior leadership in China,’ Donilon said.

 
Private talks: U.S. President Barack Obama, pictured right, spent eight hours over two days discussing climate change, cybersecurity and North Korea

Private talks: U.S. President Barack Obama, pictured right, spent eight hours over two days discussing climate change, cybersecurity and North Korea

The two-day summit, which kicked off on Friday, marked the first time the leaders had met since Xi took office in March.

The extensive talks included a working dinner of lobster tamales, Porterhouse steak and cherry pie prepared by celebrity chef Bobby Flay, and a morning walk through the manicured gardens of the 200-acre estate on the edge of the Mojave Desert.

During their walk, the leaders stopped to sit on a custom-designed park bench made of California redwood that Obama presented to Xi as a gift.

The U.S. president told reporters that the talks were ‘terrific’, as the leaders closed the summit with private tea with Xi’s wife.

The men are expected to meet again in September, on the sidelines of an international economic summit in Russia.

Xi also invited Obama to travel to China soon for a similarly informal round of one-on-one talks.

 

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