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China Voice: Finger pointing futile in China-U.S. cyber security co-op

Cybercrime: A much-debated subject between the world's two largest economies.

The thorny issue of cyber security has held China-U.S. ties back from reaching their full potential. The seemingly-constant war of words has featured much mud slinging from the United States, which has thrown about accusations of China-sponsored online espionage and Beijing-backed theft of commercial secrets, but failed to provide any concrete evidence.

With the butting of heads over this topic providing the backdrop to the first round of China-U.S. ministerial dialogue on fighting cyber crimes this week in Washington, all involved were upbeat when the event was smoother and more productive than expected. Both sides brought their accumulated experience of handling issues and managing disputes to the table, and agreed to use past experiences to strengthen bilateral relations.

Among the cases discussed included the alleged theft of data from the U.S. Office of Personnel Management by Chinese hackers.

In July, just two months ahead of President Xi Jinping's first state visit to the United States, officials in the U.S. accused the Chinese government of being behind a breach of sensitive data that related to more than 22 million current and former U.S. federal employees and contractors. The Obama administration went as far as to threaten sanctions on those implicated.

Once the initial furor had died down, however, it was discovered that the incident was a criminal, rather than state-sponsored, cyber attack. The brouhaha stirred up by the American-side was impetuous and irresponsible.

This stalling of Sino-U.S. relations, based on groundless accusations, is indicative of a larger picture: Trust between the two countries has never been fully established. When frictions on cyber security arise, it has the ripple effect of unsettling, and overshadowing, the larger picture of bilateral relations, and works only to counter previous advancements.

This week's high-level talks are the first after an 18 months hiatus, caused by another U.S. accusation relating to cyber theft.

The talks are a significant step in building mutual trust, and shows a shift away from chaotic finger pointing between the two sides toward dialogue and consultation: The preferred route for successful new major country relations.

 

(http://news.xinhuanet.com/)

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