China 'open to' cybersecurity teamwork

Updated: 2015-09-18 07:40

By Wang Xu(China Daily)

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China has always firmly opposed and combated cyberattacks and commercial cyberespionage and is willing to work with the United States to increase mutual trust and cooperation in cyberspace, a senior Chinese official said on Thursday.

However, the Chinese government will also firmly protect its own interests in cyberspace and is resolutely opposed to any statements or actions that harm China's interests, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said while briefing reporters on President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the US next week.

Cybersecurity will be one of the main issues that Xi and US President Barack Obama will discuss, along with military contacts, trade cooperation, energy, aviation and law enforcement, Zheng said.

On Tuesday, US State Department spokesman John Kirby said that cybersecurity will "certainly come up as an agenda topic during the visit, as it almost always does".

Obama said on Wednesday during a meeting with business executives in Washington that the US is ready to act against China over hacking.

"This is not just a matter of us being mildly upset, but is something that will put significant strains on the bilateral relationship if not resolved, and we are prepared to take some countervailing actions in order to get their attention," Obama said.

However, he also said that he wanted to have China "as a partner in helping to have a set of international rules and norms that help everybody".

That point of view was echoed by Zheng, who said that China and the US "can cooperate and should cooperate on setting international Internet standards", since Beijing and Washington "face common challenges on Internet security".

Zheng said that the important consensus reached by President Xi's special envoy to the US and senior US officials is a good example of how the two nations can cooperate in cyberspace.

On Saturday, special envoy Meng Jianzhu concluded four days of talks with senior US officials including Secretary of State John Kerry and National Security Advisor Susan Rice.

The White House said that "Rice had a frank and open exchange about cyber issues in her meeting with Meng".

Ruan Zongze, vice-president of the China Institute of International Studies, said that disagreements over cyber issues should "be framed in a dialogue mechanism" and, when they are, can be converted into an "opportunity for cooperation".

Yang Xiyu, a researcher with the China Institute of International Studies, said that since China and the US are the two largest victims of cyberattacks, they should work together on the matter.

Yang Yixi contributed to this story.