Senior US and Chinese officials on Saturday concluded four days of meetings on cybersecurity and other issues ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping’s (習近平) visit to Washington later this month, the White House said.
Cybersecurity has been a divisive issue between Washington and Beijing, with the US accusing Chinese hackers of attacks on US computers, a charge China denies.
US National Security Advisor Susan Rice had a “frank and open exchange about cyberissues” in her meeting this week with Chinese Communist Party’s Secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission Meng Jianzhu (孟建柱), the White House said in a statement.
The Chinese delegation also had meetings with US FBI Director James Comey and representatives from the US departments of Justice, State and Treasury and the intelligence community, it said.
China’s official Xinhua news agency said that Meng, who is the country’s domestic security chief, had reached an “important consensus” with the US during his visit.
Both countries agree it is “vital” they cooperate on fighting hacking, Meng said, adding that China will punish anyone who hacks from within China’s borders or steals corporate secrets.
“China’s position on opposing hacking and stealing commercial secrets online is resolute,” Xinhua cited Meng as saying.
US President Barack Obama last month said he would raise concerns about China’s cybersecurity behavior when he meets with Xi in Washington.
The Obama administration is considering targeted sanctions against Chinese individuals and companies for cyberattacks against US commercial targets, several US officials have said.
“There comes a point at which we consider this a core national security threat and will treat it as such,” Obama said Friday.
Chinese hackers have also been implicated in the massive hacking of the US government’s personnel office, which was disclosed this year. Two breaches of security clearance applications exposed the personal data of more than 20 million federal employees.
Still, Obama is to offer Xi a full state welcome at the White House during his Sept. 24-25 visit.
Additional reporting by AFP
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