Despite the recent Chinese hacking of her department’s emails, US Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Friday that her planned trip to China later in the year remains on schedule.
Raimondo’s email and those of other top US officials were compromised earlier this year by a group Microsoft identified as based in China. However, Raimondo remains determined to visit China. “We’re planning the trip now, which doesn’t mean that we excuse any kind of hacking or infringement on our security,” she said during a CNBC interview.
The Commerce Secretary underlined the necessity of both fiercely protecting American national security and de-escalating tension where possible, all while searching for areas of potential cooperation. She said, “I do plan to travel later this year (to China). We’re planning the trip now, which doesn’t mean that we excuse any kind of hacking or infringement on our security. We need to be ferocious in the way we protect American national security but also deescalate tension where we can and look for ways that we can work together.”
Her visit to China is intended to address serious concerns about the targeting of US tech companies and the lack of respect for intellectual property, while also exploring areas for trade.
While the full extent of the cyber breach is still being determined, Raimondo refused to confirm whether her account was compromised. Despite this, she acknowledged, “Obviously there’s been a hack at the Department of Commerce, which is very significant, very complex.”
The Chinese embassy in Washington has previously cautioned against making “groundless speculations and allegations,” highlighting the complexity of tracing the origin of cyber attacks.