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Sino-US cybersecurity collaboration to increase

Zhang Yi
Updated: Jun 15,2016 7:31 AM     China Daily

Chinese and US security officials held the second High-Level Joint Dialogue on Cybercrime and Related Issues on June 14, pledging to iron out differences and to make fighting cybercrime a part of bilateral cooperation.

The dialogue in Beijing, following the first such conversation in Washington in December, was attended by Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun and Suzanne Spaulding, an undersecretary at the US Department of Homeland Security. Other senior officials from both countries also participated.

“Stepping up collaboration on cybersecurity conforms to common interests of both countries. The joint dialogue should be developed into a major channel for communication and cooperation on cybersecurity issues between China and the United States,” Guo, who also is a state councilor, said at the dialogue.

US Secretary of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and Attorney General Loretta Lynch had been scheduled to attend the meeting, but they withdrew after the mass shooting in Orlando, Florida.

Spaulding said the focus of the talks was to make sure both sides fulfilled commitments made by the countries’ presidents, according to a news release provided by the Public Security Ministry after the dialogue.

The US government attaches great importance to the agreement reached by President Xi Jinping and US President Barack Obama in September and has faith that both nations will work to transform differences into cooperation, she added.

The mass shooting in the US has prompted both countries to give more emphasis to collaboration on security issues, including cybersecurity, Spaulding said. The US and China both have a large number of internet users and share common interests in internet security, she added.

Tao Wenzhao, a researcher on Sino-US relations at the Chinese Academy of Social Sciences, said, “The joint efforts of both sides have brought remarkable progress in fighting cybercrime since President Xi Jinping agreed to set up a high-level joint dialogue mechanism on fighting cybercrime during his state visit in September.”

For example, 17 Chinese suspected of making pornographic videos involving children have been arrested after the US informed China that such videos had been posted on websites in February, Tao said.

“Cybersecurity will be a major field of partnership between China and the US as the issue becomes more predominant. Currently, the international community lacks an authoritative body to govern internet issues,” he added. “Therefore, joint efforts in this regard are of great importance for the two countries, which have an increasing number of internet users.”

Max Baucus, the US ambassador to China, told The Associated Press before the dialogue, “We’re here today to ensure implementation of agreements made by the two presidents, commitments that illustrate that we can work through areas of differences to reach areas of cooperation.”

Cyber issues are “an important element in our bilateral relationship”, the ambassador said. “Each step that we take enables us to have greater trust. We’re prepared to work hard ... to narrow our differences.”

Along with the topic of fighting cybercrime, the dialogue also covered establishing a hotline between the two countries, safeguarding cybersecurity and exchanging law enforcement information in cybercrime cases. The plan for a hotline for fighting cybercrime and related issues and a list of agreements will be issued on June 15, according to the ministry.

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