• Thu
  • Dec 25, 2014
  • Updated: 9:03am
Edward Snowden

China's decision to not hand over Snowden 'undermined' co-operation, says US

PUBLISHED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 2:48pm
UPDATED : Friday, 12 July, 2013, 4:11pm

The United States on Thursday reprimanded China for not handing over fugitive leaker Edward Snowden, but the two powers saw progress elsewhere in ties including on reaching an investment treaty.

In wide-ranging annual talks seen as important by Beijing, the United States openly criticised China for not extraditing Snowden – a former contractor who unveiled details of pervasive US online snooping – after he fled to Hong Kong.

President Barack Obama, in a statement on a meeting with the Chinese envoys, voiced “disappointment and concern” that Snowden was allowed to leave Hong Kong on June 23 for Russia, where he remains in limbo as he seeks asylum.

Deputy Secretary of State William Burns said the decision on Snowden ”undermined” calls for co-operation between Obama and China’s new President Xi Jinping when they spent a weekend at the Sunnylands resort in California.

China’s handling of this case was not consistent with ... the new model [relationship] that we both seek to build
US Deputy Secretary of State William Burns

“We have made clear that China’s handling of this case was not consistent with the spirit of Sunnylands or with the type of relationship – the new model – that we both seek to build,” said Burns, who was filling in for Secretary of State John Kerry, whose wife is ill.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi, speaking at a joint press event, said Hong Kong enjoyed autonomy and the special administrative region’s decisions were based on its laws and “beyond reproach”.

The Snowden saga was the latest cloud over relations between the Pacific powers. The United States also took China to task for what it charges is a vast hacking operation that has severely hurt US companies by stealing secrets.

Amid charges by Snowden that US spies have penetrated Beijing’s internet network, Yang responded that China was itself a victim of hacking. He urged international rules set by the UN “to help uphold cyber security in all countries”.

But the talks, known as the Strategic and Economic Dialogue, have generally been dominated by broader economic issues – and both sides spoke optimistically on momentum between the world’s largest developed and developing nations.

US Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said China agreed for the first time to put all areas on the table on a treaty to govern investments. He said the step would “level the playing field” for US businesses seeking to enter the billion-plus market.

“The commitment made today stands to be a significant breakthrough and marks the first time China has agreed to negotiate a bilateral investment treaty, to include all sectors and stages of investment, with another country,” Lew said.

The United States and China first started talks on a treaty in 2008, and the two sides did not give any timeframe for the conclusion of negotiations.

A treaty would require approval by a forbidding two-thirds of the US Senate, but both countries see incentives for the effort.

The United States often complains of Chinese restrictions on foreign investors, while China has been alarmed by repeated US efforts to limit investment in sectors Washington sees as critical to national security.

Telecoms giant Huawei recently became the latest Chinese firm to lose hope over the US market after a congressional report charged its equipment could be used for spying.

“The United States pledges to treat Chinese investment equally and fairly,” Vice Premier Wang Yang said at the close of the talks.

In another frequent source of friction, the United States said it raised concerns over China’s human rights record, including its treatment of minorities.

“We firmly believe that respect for universal rights and fundamental freedoms will make China more peaceful, more prosperous and ultimately more secure,” Burns said.

Yang replied that the United States should improve its own human rights record and show “mutual respect” for other countries’ internal affairs.

“People in various regions in China, including Xinjiang and Tibet, are enjoying happier lives, and they are enjoying unprecedented freedoms,” Yang said.

More than 110 Tibetans have set themselves on fire since 2009 to protest what they see as stifling rule, while the Xinjiang region has seen frequent strife as members of the mostly Muslim Uighur community allege repression.

Obama also pressed China on its tense maritime disputes with Japan, the Philippines and Vietnam, saying that the United States would not accept ”coercion or intimidation.”



Related topics

More on this story

For unlimited access to:

SCMP.com SCMP Tablet Edition SCMP Mobile Edition 10-year news archive



This article is now closed to comments

hard times !
Obama administration has not yet explained to both Hong Kong and China her NSA's intrusions into our Internet Exchange at Chinese Univ.in Shatin and the computers of our public officials,businessmen and students as well.it also undermines the co-operation between the States and Hong Kong and harmful to our mutual trust too.hacking is considered a criminal offence here in Hong Kong and how about large-scaled and long-time hackings done by state-owned intelligence agencies on the pretexts of national security and anti-terrorism ? Luckily it is learnt that now at least Russians are using electricial typewriters in drafting their documents to their leaders after the revelations of Snowden in recent weeks ! Bravo ! So will other governments around the world and our SAR administration as well in e-communications plus the security of our Internet Exchange and the landing sites of our fibre-optic submarine cables at both Tseung Kwun O and Chun Hum Kok in Stanley Peninsula, Hong Kong Island.
The US still haven't answered the question! Why were you cybersnooping on us? Stop trying to dodge the question!
Insofar as a 'new relationship' goes, it sounds like the same old US badgering and pontificating as before. One wonders if the 'spirit of 'Sunnylands'" was just the same old same old 'name and shame' and 'boss of the world' US-Sino policy approach Washington seems trapped within because it sure looks like it.
John Adams
Thank you Mr USA, dear teacher for putting us straight once again.
Sorry that we forgot lesson No 1 from you : " Do what we say, not what we do"
They all cybersnoop on each other. That's why China wanted to get rid of this case as soon as possible. Nobody has any moral high ground here.
Snowden was in Hong Kong, not in China. A different jurisdiction. And since he had a valid visa, he wasn't in police custody. And there wasn't any danger from him for Hong Kong, so why should the police arrest him?
Maybe the US should have a long thinking session about freedom, rights, laws?
US and Obama have ZERO credibility.
Only you think you have the shinning new clothes on, but everyone else can see your naked ugliness!!!
So many of these statements are just "tick the box" and "must say". Don't mean much but the bureaucrats just have to say them to please the bosses and idiotic, uninformed public.
Harold Cameron
Indeed, it's difficult to believe that in this day & age that China & all the other nations weren't perfectly aware that the were being "cybersnooped", but kept quiet because they, all of them, have been & still are doing exactly the same to the USA.
Its the gullible idiotic American public who actually think they are being targeted only and that they will never do such thing. Or even if they do it - its somehow alright.... and their elected idiotic representatives in congress still hyprocritically think they can tell others that and that and that - thats shocking.



SCMP.com Account