China, US reach ‘key cyber consensus’

By Liu Xin Source:Global Times Published: 2015-9-14 0:53:01

Special envoy visits DC ahead of Xi trip

Chinese President Xi Jinping's special envoy has reached "important consensus" on combating cyber crimes with senior US officials, ahead of Xi's upcoming visit to the US in late September, the Xinhua News Agency reported.

Analysts said that although the two countries share interests in maintaining cyber security, the US is trying to pressure China by blaming it for hacking US companies.

During the meeting from Wednesday to Saturday, special envoy Meng Jianzhu exchanged views on combating cyber crimes with US Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and US National Security Advisor Susan Rice in Washington, DC.

Meng said that China and the US are both countries with highly developed Internet technology and anyone who conducts cyber attacks and commercial cyber espionage in Chinese territory violates the laws of China and will be subject to legal liability.

Rice had a "frank and open exchange about cyber issues" in her meeting with Meng, according to a White House statement.

The Obama administration is considering targeted sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies over cyber attacks against US commercial targets, several US officials were quoted as saying by media.

"The US is trying to pressure China by blaming it for these hacking activities. Cyber security is a divisive issue between the two countries and the US wants China to make compromises in the Xi-Obama talks," Wu Xinbo, director of the Center for American Studies at Shanghai-based Fudan University, told the Global Times on Sunday.

The US overstated China's part in the hacking, as it is difficult to trace exactly who is responsible and the US may feel threatened by China's rapid development in network techniques, Wu said.

Commercial losses

"The US attaches more importance to cyber security because it relies on the Internet more than other countries. Commercial interests will lose out if there are leaks in trade secrets or technology," Jin Canrong, vice-director of the School of International Studies at the Renmin University of China, told the Global Times on Sunday.

US President Barack Obama said in his Friday speech that cyber crises are a core national security threat and that if states chose to make it an area of competition, then the US could make this an area in which it "will win if we have to."

Obama also said he would raise concerns about China's cyber security behavior when he meets with Xi in Washington, DC.

"The two countries share common interests in cyber security, for example cracking down on spreading terror information. And the vulnerability and universality of the Internet call for joint efforts to maintain security," Jin said.

During the four-day meeting, Meng also said that against a backdrop of frequent incidents and ever-increasing security threats in cyberspace, it is especially important for the two nations to enhance mutual trust and cooperation in the sphere of cyber security, Xinhua reported.

Meng said that communication and cooperation between China and the US on combating cyber crimes serve the common interest of both countries and the wider international community.

Since China has the largest group of Internet users and the US has the most advanced technology, interaction between the two countries is important to establish order and maintain balance in the Internet world, Ni Feng, research fellow at the Institute of American Studies at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, told the Global Times on Sunday.

Charges dropped

Separately, the US Justice Department was forced to drop charges against a Chinese-born Physics professor, Xi Xiaoxing, who had been accused of sharing sensitive US technology with China, after an "embarrassing" mistake was found in the case's key evidence, Xinhua reported Friday.

"Communication and interaction between China and the US have not been smooth," Ni said.

China suspended a Sino-US working group on cyber security issues in May 2014 after the US, for the first time, indicted five Chinese military officers for the alleged hacking of US companies. China has denied the accusations.

"The first step for the two countries to cooperate is to make an agreement on what they should not do. For example, they need to both agree to not attack power and transportation networks or other civilian infrastructure," said Wu.

The second step is to seek more cooperation in less-disputed areas, for example, in combating online financial crimes, noted Wu.

Posted in: Diplomacy

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