China, US reach cybercrime consensus; other deals announced

Washington, Sep 26 (IANS) China and the US have reached important consensus on the joint fight against cyber crimes, visiting Chinese President Xi Jinping said, stressing bilateral dialogue and cooperation on cyber issues, the media reported on Saturday.

At a joint press conference with US President Barack Obama at the White House on Friday, Xi said Beijing and Washington have agreed to step up investigation assistance and information sharing on cyber crime cases, Xinhua news agency reported.

Both governments would not engage in or knowingly support online theft of intellectual property, he said, adding that the two sides will explore the formulation of appropriate norms of behaviour in cyber space. The two countries have also agreed to establish a high-level dialogue mechanism on the fight against cyber crimes, said the Chinese president.

“China and the US are two major countries in the internet sphere and we should strengthen dialogue and cooperation,” Xi said. “Confrontation and friction are not the right choice for both sides.”

Obama said the two countries have made “significant progress” in agreeing to how the two countries can work together, exchange information, and go after individuals or entities that are engaging in cyber crimes or cyber attacks.

The announcement comes after the massive Office of Personnel Management (OPM) hack announced in June — which US officials have blamed on the Chinese, CNN reported. On Wednesday, OPM said that up to 5.6 million fingerprints were among the more than 21.5 million current, former and prospective federal employee records stolen in the hack.

Obama and Xi also discussed rising regional tensions in Asia sparked by Beijing’s construction of military installations on man-made islands and disputed reefs in the South China Sea.

“We agreed to new channels of communication to reduce the risk of miscalculations between our militaries,” Obama said.

In addition, the US and China also reached an agreement to facilitate crisis communications between the militaries meant to defuse tensions and to avoid escalations after any incidents between their armed forces.

The Chinese president also put forward a six-pronged proposal for next-stage development of bilateral relations.

The Chinese president will be in New York from Sept 26-28 for a series of summits and meetings marking the 70th anniversary of the founding of the UN.

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