U.S., China conclude fifth S&ED meeting

July 12, 2013 at 1:47 AM
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WASHINGTON, July 12 (UPI) -- Cybersecurity is a "critical new area" where the United States and China need shared understanding of rules, a top U.S. official said.

Speaking in Washington at the end of the two-day Strategic and Economic Dialogue between the United States and China, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State William Burns touched on cybersecurity, an issue of much importance between the two countries because of U.S. complaints about Chinese hacking of its computer systems.

"Cybersecurity is a critical new area where we need to reach a shared understanding of the rules of the road," Burns said, the U.S. State Department said in its transcript.

"And the reality is clear: The technological ties that bind us together also introduce a new challenge to our bilateral relationship. During our engagement this week, we underscored that the cyber-enabled theft of trade secrets, intellectual property, and confidential business information is unacceptable."

Both sides expressed satisfaction with their discussions at the two-day meeting which also included, according to Burns, the need for cooperation on a range of pressing regional and global challenges, from Iran and North Korea to global poverty and maritime security.

"Together, we reaffirmed our strong commitment to the goal of denuclearization and the need for North Korea to take meaningful steps toward this end," Burns said.

The Chinese delegation at the meeting was jointly led by Vice Premier Wang Yang and State Councilor Yang Jiechi. Burns, who substituted for U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, Treasury Secretary Jack Lew headed the U.S. team.

Yang in his comments said China "will remain committed to denuclearization on the Korean Peninsula and upholding peace and stability on the peninsula, and create conditions for the early resumption of the Six-Party Talks," Yang said. The Six-Party Talks on the North's nuclear disarmament, which remains stalled, include the two Koreas, Japan, China, Russia, and the United States.

U.S. President Barack Obama, who met with the visiting Chinese special representatives, discussed economic reforms under way in China and their compatibility with policies his administration is pursuing at home, the White House said.

"He also welcomed China's important new commitment to open its economy to U.S. investment in a bilateral investment treaty that it is negotiating with the United States."

Obama and the Chinese representatives agreed on the "fundamental importance of denuclearization of the Korean Peninsula, and welcomed efforts to deepen cooperation to achieve that shared goal."

Obama also "reiterated concerns about cyber-enabled theft of trade secrets, and welcomed joint efforts to develop rules and norms of behavior in cyberspace," the statement said.

He urged China to manage its maritime disputes with its neighbors peacefully, without the use of intimidation or coercion. China's aggressive claims of sovereignty over much of the vital South China Sea and its bitter territorial dispute with Japan over the Senkaku Islands in the East China Sea have raised much concern in the international community.

Obama also told the visitors the United States would continue to speak out in support of international norms including protection of universal human rights.

Treasury Secretary Lew, in his closing comments, said the S&ED discussions were "informative, insightful, and sometimes direct, as discussions amongst friends are."

He said President Obama's summit with Chinese President Xi Jinping last month in California set the framework for discussions.

Noting the two sides have made significant advances in strengthening bilateral relations, Lew said U.S. exports to China have doubled since early 2009 and that the Chinese currency rate, which many in the United States say remains artificially undervalued, has appreciated.

As a result, China's current account surplus has fallen from a peak of over 10 percent of GDP before this administration took office to less than 3 percent current, Lew said, adding: "While this is welcome, more progress is needed."

He said China's new leaders "have turned to an ambitious set of reforms that will reorient China's economy towards domestic consumption and away from exports, heavy industry, and investments." He said China also has committed to open further to foreign investment.

Speaking for China, Vice Premier Wang said the latest S&ED round "has achieved a great success." He said the United States pledged to increase investment, raise savings rate, cut deficit, reduce debt, endeavor to achieve midterm fiscal sustainability "and pay close attention to the spillover effect and global ramifications of its monetary policy."

He said the two sides agreed to begin substantive negotiations on a bilateral investment and the United States pledged to treat Chinese investment equally and fairly and welcome investment from China.

Wang said the United States also pledged "to recognize China's market economy status in expeditious and non-discriminative way."

State Councilor Yang said on other issues, China and the United States agreed to expand and deepen dialogue and cooperation on climate change, cyber, energy, ocean, customs, nuclear security and counterterrorism.

"Both sides are of the view that efforts to build a new model of major country relationship should start in the Asia Pacific," he said. "The two sides decided to hold the next round of Asia Pacific consultations this fall and jointly uphold peace, stability, and development in the Asia Pacific."

Since the Obama-Xi summit, China has been stressing the need to build a "new model of major-country relationship."

As regards Asia-Pacific, China has expressed strong feelings about the U.S. rebalancing in the region.

"The two sides also decided to enhance dialogue and coordination on the Iranian nuclear issue, Syria, Afghanistan, and other regional and global issues," Yang said.

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