Commerce Secretary Gina Raimondo said on Sunday that she was “firm” in confronting the Chinese during a recent visit to Beijing on the issue of having her email hacked.
In an interview on CNN’s “State of the Union,” Raimondo was responding to criticism that points out she of all people should understand China’s hostility in her role.
“I was very clear, direct and firm in all of my conversations with my Chinese counterparts. I didn’t pull any punches. I didn’t sugarcoat anything, and no one is more realistic than I am about the challenges as it relates to the hack,” Raimondo said
Raimondo said she told her Chinese counterparts that the email hacking “erodes trust.”
“I brought it up. I said, you know, we know what’s going on that erodes trust. And you know, I wanted to be clear with them that we aren’t foolish. We aren’t close-eyed to the reality of what they’re trying to do,” Raimondo said of her meetings.
Asked about China’s response, Raimondo suggested they dodged on the issue, offering up different explanations.
“They suggested that they didn’t know about it. And they suggested that it wasn’t intentional,” Raimondo said, “but I think it was important that I put it on the table and let them know and let them know that it’s hard to build trust when you have actions like that.”
Raimondo recently returned from a high-stakes trip to China, where she met with government officials and business leaders in the latest effort to mend stagnant relationships between the world’s two largest economies.
Raimondo defended her trip as a success and noted she laid a groundwork for communication channel in the future, which she stressed is essential in building any relationship.
Raimondo’s trip followed several other high-profile trips to China in recent months by other cabinet members.