China and US to co-operate to avoid cyber Cold War

Updated on: 2012-05-08 || Source: bbc.com

US and Chinese defence ministers say they will work together over cybersecurity, despite accusations that China is the main source of online attacks against the US.

US Defence Secretary Leon Panetta met his Chinese counterpart Liang Guanglie in Washington on Monday.

He said it was "extremely important" to work together to "avoid a crisis in this area".

Mr Liang denied that China was the main source of cyber-attacks against the US.

Crisis avoidance

"I can hardly agree with the proposition that the cyber-attacks directed to the United States are directly coming from China," he said.

Mr Panetta acknowledged that other countries were also involved in cyber-attacks.

"Because the United States and China have developed the 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 a crisis in this area," he said.

A report last year by US intelligence agencies accused Chinese hackers of stealing sensitive, high-tech US data for economic purposes. Chinese officials deny participating or supporting cyber-hacking, saying it is often anonymous and hard to track.

Mr Liang and Mr Panetta also discussed a range of other issues, including territorial disputes in the South China Sea, US arms sales to Taiwan, and North Korea's nuclear programme.

It was the first visit by a Chinese defence minister to the US since 2003.

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