Beijing and Washington reached a consensus on Dec 1 on fighting cybercrimes, in a move to tackle a major irritant in the bilateral relationship. The agreement included determining a number of cases for cooperation.
Among the cases discussed was one related to the alleged theft of data from the US Office of Personnel Management by Chinese hackers.
Following investigations, the case turned out to be a criminal one rather than a state-sponsored cyberattack as the US had suspected.
The discussions took place at the US Justice Department during the first China-US ministerial dialogue on fighting cybercrimes.
Reuters said the dialogue “marks an ongoing effort to repair bilateral relations after China withdrew from a working group last year in response to the US indictment of five members of its military on charges of hacking six US companies”.
At the meeting on Dec 1, the two nations agreed on a guiding principle for fighting Internet crimes and related issues. They also agreed to set up a hotline and reached a consensus on counterterrorism cases involving cyberspace.
The hotline will allow direct communication between officials from both countries at ministerial and vice-ministerial level.
Both nations agreed to hold law enforcement training for each other next year. In the first half of 2016, China will provide a 10-day training course in Beijing for 15 US law enforcement personnel.
China also proposed hosting a cyber counterterrorism symposium in the first half of next year. Internet giants such as Google and Facebook are expected to be invited.
The talks were co-chaired by State Councilor Guo Shengkun, US Attorney General Loretta Lynch and US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson.
Guo said on Dec 1, “China and the US have important shared interests in ensuring cybersecurity and are fully capable of turning their differences and frictions into bright spots for cooperation.”
Li Wei, an anti-terrorism expert at the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations, said the breakthrough in cybersecurity cooperation between China and the US will set a good example for the world.
Lu Chuanying, a researcher of American studies at the Shanghai Institutes for International Studies, said that through such cooperation “Beijing and Washington are providing public products to the whole world”.