US, China to Cooperate on Cyber Security

Posted May 8th, 2012 at 3:00 am (UTC-5)
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Senior Chinese and U.S. defense officials have agreed to cooperate on cyber security threats, despite recent accusations that China is behind several cyber attacks against U.S. networks.

The announcement came Monday as China's Defense Minister Liang Guanglie met in Washington with his U.S. counterpart, Leon Panetta.

Panetta said it was important for both countries to work together on cyber security issues to avoid any future crises over digital threats.

“Because the United States and China have developed technological capabilities in this arena, it's extremely important that we work together to develop ways to avoid any miscalculation or misperception that could lead to crisis in this area.”

Liang said Beijing was also ready to participate in joint efforts to strengthen cybersecurity, saying China has been one of the biggest victims of cyber attacks in recent years.

But he denied accusations that Chinese hackers were behind recent online attacks on U.S. companies and government agencies.

“I can hardly agree with the proposition that the cyber attacks directed against the United States are directly coming from China.”

A report last year by U.S. intelligence agencies accused Chinese hackers of stealing sensitive, high-tech U.S. data for economic purposes. Chinese officials deny participating or supporting cyber hacking, saying it is often anonymous and hard to track.

Liang and Panetta also discussed a range of other issues, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea, U.S. arms sales to Taiwan, and North Korea's nuclear program. It was the first visit by a Chinese defense minister to the U.S. since 2003.