China ready to discuss cyber security with US

5 July 2013
By Edd Gent
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Chinese assistant foreign minister Zheng Zeguang has said Beijing is ready to come to the table to discuss cyber security

Chinese assistant foreign minister Zheng Zeguang has said Beijing is ready to come to the table to discuss cyber security

China says it is ready to discuss strengthening cyber security at a top-level forum with US officials next week.

Chinese officials said next week's two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue in Washington would include talks on finance and climate change and the inaugural gathering of a US-Chinese cyber security group.

Beijing is under US pressure to crack down on cyber spying after security consultants tracked a wave of hacking attacks to China and assistant foreign minister Zheng Zeguang said Beijing was ready to work with the US to build a "peaceful, secure, open" online environment.

But Beijing wants Washington to help settle territorial disputes in east Asia and Zegaung said he wanted Washington to "do more to contribute" to settling tensions over the East China Sea and South China Sea.

"We are ready to work with the United States and engage in dialogue and communication and, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust, enhance understanding and consensus and work with the international community to build a peaceful, secure, open and cooperative cyberspace," said Zheng.

The US delegation is to be led by Secretary of State John Kerry and Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew. The chief Chinese envoys will be State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang. They are to be joined by finance, military, energy, environmental and other officials.

The annual talks are aimed at heading off trade and other disputes between the world's two largest economies and to promote cooperation on managing the global economy, climate change and other issues.

Security experts say China is a base for a large share of the world's cyber-spying, some of which might be carried out by its military. Beijing has rejected that, saying China is a victim of computer hacking.

On regional issues, Zheng said Beijing wants Washington to "do more to contribute" to settling tensions over territorial disputes.

Referring to China's conflicting claims with the Philippines, Vietnam and other governments over the South China Sea, Zheng said "the United States should do more to contribute to a proper settlement of the issue". 

As for Beijing's dispute with Japan over a group of uninhabited islands in the East China Sea, Zheng said Washington "should send correct instead of wrong signals and do more to contribute to the cooling of the situation".

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