China Plans First Talks With U.S. Under Cybersecurity Dialogue

China and the U.S. will hold the first meeting of a cybersecurity working group set up following accusations that the Chinese government is responsible for hacking attacks against American companies.

The working group, established when Secretary of State John Kerry visited China in April, will meet July 8 in Washington before the annual U.S.-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang said yesterday.

American and Chinese officials may also discuss former U.S. National Security Agency contractor Edward Snowden, whose revelations about an NSA spying program last month overshadowed U.S claims made earlier this year that China is waging a cyber-espionage campaign. Chinese officials have demanded an explanation for Snowden’s allegation that the U.S. has hacked computers in Hong Kong and mainland China since 2009.

Before Snowden went public, White House national security adviser Tom Donilon warned that cyber-attacks from China threatened to derail President Barack Obama’s efforts to improve ties with China. China maintains that it’s also a victim of hacking and opposes such activities.

“The Internet in China has always been under a serious threat, including hacking and cyberviruses and other illegal and criminal activities,” Zheng said. “The information released by the media shows once again that China is among the victims of cyber-attacks.”

The annual economic talks will take place on July 10-11. A third China-U.S. Strategic Security Dialogue will be held on July 9 and will be attended by People’s Liberation Army Deputy Chief of Staff Wang Guanzhong and U.S. Undersecretary of Defense James Miller, as well as Admiral Samuel Locklear, commander of the U.S. Pacific Fleet, Zheng said.

— With assistance by Henry Sanderson

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