• U.S. and China to Discuss Cyber-Spying

    WASHINGTON, July 2, 2014 (AFP) – Washington will push Beijing to address concerns about cyber-spying and end the theft of corporate data when the two powers meet for high-level talks next week, a top US official told AFP Wednesday.

    Internet hacking will be among a slew of issues on the table during two days of talks in Beijing, with Secretary of State John Kerry and Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew leading the US delegation.

    China in May angrily suspended a cybersecurity working group after the US took the unprecedented step of indicting five Chinese military officers for cyber-spying, accusing them of hacking into US computers to steal trade secrets.

    But Assistant Secretary of State for East Asia Daniel Russel told AFP that Kerry was still likely to raise the issue with Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi and Vice Premier Wang Yang, who will lead Beijing’s delegation to the talks.

    Kerry will also push for the resumption of the working group, which was only set up about a year ago.

    “It’s urgent, frankly, that the United States and China cooperate in helping to develop international standards” for the use of and security of the Internet, Russel said, adding the group was the right forum to allow experts to work out codes of conduct.

    Both sides also needed to raise their own concerns.

    The top US issue is that “corporate data from US firms is being stolen via cyber means by actors in China and that information is being transferred to Chinese state-owned enterprises,” he said.

    “There is a growing body of evidence that points to direct Chinese government involvement in that behavior. Clearly to us that means that the Chinese government has the ability to stop it,” Russel insisted.

    Washington has called on the Chinese government to “look into any and all allegations and take action to prevent this kind of cyber economic theft.”

    The top US diplomat for East Asia and Pacific affairs stressed however that the suspension of the cyber group was “not indicative of fundamental problems in the relationship.”

    “It is more in the character of a wide-ranging and broad relationship that includes areas of cooperation, areas of competition and areas of friction,” he added.

    “The trick of course is to manage friction in an effective and constructive way.”

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