China and the United States have recently stepped up cyber security exchanges, making the field a promising area of bilateral cooperation.[Special coverage]
Chinese President Xi Jinping, who is on his first state visit to the United States, stressed the vital importance of cyber security in his meeting with participants of an Internet forum in Seattle on Wednesday.
The Chinese president noted that with the rapid development of information technology, the Internet plays an increasingly important role in the peace and development of individual countries and the world.
Therefore, how to govern and make better use of the cyber space has become a big question all countries care about and are studying, he said.
Noting that both China and the United States are major countries in the Internet sphere, where they have important common interests and room for cooperation, he hoped that the two countries would carry out constructive talks on cyber issues on the basis of mutual respect and trust.
In so doing, he added, the two sides can create a new bright spot in bilateral cooperation and enable the cyber space to bring more benefits to the two nations and the people across the world.
MUCH-ANTICIPATED NEW BRIGHT SPOT
Despite disagreements over cyber threats, China and the United States have seen growing cooperation between their internet technology companies in recent years.
For example, Chinese internet security company Qihu 360 has helped fix five new bugs in the Windows software package. In July, Microsoft once again extended a public thank you to Qihu 360 for its help. To date, Qihu has received 86 public commendations from Microsoft for its contributions to the security of Microsoft products.
In March, China's largest e-commerce platform Alibaba's first overseas data center in Silicon Valley began its trial operations to help provide cloud services to overseas clients, especially those in North America.
Through the data center, American companies enjoy easy access to cloud services from China and vice versa, Yu Sicheng, vice president of Aliyun.com, said. Jeffrey Bader, a senior fellow at the Brookings Institution, sees common ground in U.S.-China cooperation in the cyber sphere.
"Any sabotage through cyber means will be something very disturbing to the U.S. and China. China doesn't wish to do that to the U.S. and vice versa," he said in an interview with Xinhua.
He said he'd like to see some kind of agreement obliging both sides to take steps and ensure there will be no sabotage of infrastructure.
Herbert Lin, a cyber policy expert at Stanford University's Hoover Institution, expects the overall China-U.S. relationship to benefit from progress on the cyber security issues that divide the two nations today.
"And progress is certainly possible in that area by finding areas of common interest in cyberspace," said Lin.
An example is that both nations have a common interest in protecting the stability of the international financial system, which can be disturbed by hostile actions in cyberspace conducted by third parties, he said.
BUILDING ON EXISTING MOMENTUMS
China and the United States reached an important consensus on combating cyber crimes during a visit by Xi's special envoy Meng Jianzhu to the United States ahead of the Chinese president's trip to the country.
During his four-day visit earlier this month, Meng exchanged in-depth views on tackling outstanding issues of law enforcement and security, including cyber crimes, with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Secretary of the Department of Homeland Security Jeh Johnson and U.S. National Security Advisor Susan Rice. Stressing China's firm stand against cyber attacks and commercial cyber espionage,
Meng said anyone who conducts such acts in the Chinese territory violates Chinese law and will be subject to legal liability. The consensus reached during meetings between Chinese and U.S. officials has sent a good message that cyber security can become an area of China-U.S. cooperation, instead of a source of frictions.
"As two major powers in cyber space, China and the United States share extensive common interests while facing common challenges," Foreign Ministry Spokesperson Hong Lei said at a press conference this month.
China firmly opposes and cracks down on all types of hackers, the spokesman said. "Cyber security should be an area of cooperation rather than a source of frictions," he noted.