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China Seeks Cyber Security Dialogue With US At Defence Summit

posted 31 May 2013, 04:35 by Sam Mbale   [ updated 31 May 2013, 04:36 ]

China says it seeks a "transparent cyberspace" ahead of talks with U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel in Singapore.

BEIJINGCHINA (MAY 31, 2013)(REUTERS) -  China said on Friday (May 31) that it was willing to discuss cyber security with the U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel at the impending defence summit inSingapore.

The comment came after Hagel said earlier on Friday that cyber threats posed a "quiet, stealthy, insidious" danger to the U.S. and other nations, and called for "rules of the road" to guide behaviour and avoid conflict on global computer networks.

Hagel said he would address cyber security in a speech on Saturday (June 1), and that the issue was likely to come up in a brief meeting with Chinese delegates on the margins of the conference.

"China is willing to enter into dialogue with the United States officials who will attend to communicate issues of common concern. As for the issue of cyber security, we have repeatedly laid out China's stance. We believe that both sides should conduct calm and sensible discussions on this issue to develop the highlights in our bilateral cooperation, in order to deal with cyber security threats together, and together build a free, cooperative, secure and transparent cyberspace," Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Hong Lei told a regular news briefing in Beijing.

Hagel's remarks came two days after news reports said the Defense Science Board- a committee of civilian experts which advises the U.S Defense Department - had concluded that Chinese hackers had gained access to the designs of more than two dozen major U.S. weapons systems in recent years.

The Pentagon downplayed the report as outdated and overstated.

But the Defense Department underscored its concerns about Chinese hacking in a separate report to Congress earlier this month, accusing Beijing of using cyber espionage to modernise its military.

The report said the U.S. government had been the target of hacking that appeared to be "attributable directly to the Chinese government and military."

But China has continually denied the accusations and said instead that it is one of the biggest victims of cyber assaults.