This is an amazing development for someone aware of the history of this issue. President Obama is exactly right concerning the differences between espionage, practiced by all nations since the beginning of time, and massive industrial theft by China against the developed world, which the United States, at least, will not tolerate.
Obama’s money quote:
Every country in the world, large and small, engages in intelligence gathering and that is an occasional source of tension but is generally practiced within bounds. There is a big difference between China wanting to figure out how can they find out what my talking points are when I’m meeting with the Japanese which is standard fare and we’ve tried to prevent them from – penetrating that and they try to get that information. There’s a big difference between that and a hacker directly connected with the Chinese government or the Chinese military breaking into Apple’s software systems to see if they can obtain the designs for the latest Apple product. That’s theft. And we can’t tolerate that.
I think a key issue here is whether China recognizes and understands the difference. Culturally, I’m not so sure, and I believe that’s one reason this continues to escalate.