US, China to cooperate on cybersecurity

Defense ministers from both countries agree cyberattacks on U.S. not always attributable to China and mutual cooperation needed to combat security threats.
Written by Jamie Yap, Contributor

The defense ministers of both the United States and China have pledged to cooperate further to battle cyberthreats and avoid miscalculations that can led to cyber conflict between the two nations.

Reuters reported Monday that Chinese defense minister, Liang Guanglie, rejected suggestions cyberattacks on the U.S. originated from China. Speaking at a news conference, Liang said his counterpart, U.S. Defense Secretary Leon Panetta, agreed and revealed that two sides had discussed ways to cooperate on cybersecurity.

At the same conference, Panetta said it was true other countries and hackers were involved in cyberattacks launched against the United States and China. "But, 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," he added.

Liang is the first Chinese defense minister in nine years to visit the U.S., according to Reuters. Liang, who led a 24-member delegation of Chinese military officials, discussed cyberspace, nuclear arms and North Korea, among other issues of mutual concern. The dialogue with Panetta were part of discussions at the Pentagon aimed at stabilizing the often-rocky military ties between the two countries.

"The United States and China are powers in the Pacific, and our goal is to establish a constructive relationship for the future," the U.S. Defense Secretary said. "It is essential for our two nations to communicate effectively on a range of very challenging issues."

Just within the last two months, U.S. authorities stated that China was responsible for spying on U.S. military and civilian space technology as well as the cyberattacks against U.S. security vendor, RSA.

Panetta was reiterating U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's call for shared norms between China and U.S. on cyber issues in another Reuters report. Clinton was in Beijing for the annual Strategic and Economic Dialogue with Chinese leaders last Friday.

Editorial standards