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U.S., Chinese leaders hope new cooperation will cut cyber thefts, improve relations

By
Doug G. Ware
U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday greet State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun of China prior to a meeting on cyber security and related issues at the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI.
U.S. Attorney General Loretta E. Lynch and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson on Tuesday greet State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun of China prior to a meeting on cyber security and related issues at the Department of Justice headquarters in Washington, D.C. Photo by Kevin Dietsch/UPI. | License Photo

WASHINGTON, Dec. 1 (UPI) -- Representatives of the United States and China met in Washington, D.C., Tuesday for a summit on cyber security that was arranged by the nations' leaders two months ago -- a meeting both sides say they hope will remove bilateral obstacles to greater diplomacy.

The meeting involve discussions between members of Chinese General Secretary Xi Jinping's administration and U.S. law enforcement and intelligence officials -- including the Federal Bureau of Investigation and Department of Justice -- who will address issues like commercial cyber espionage.

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Jinping and President Barack Obama set the stage for the meetings in September during the Chinese leader's visit to the White House -- during which the pair pledged not to conduct or condone commercial cyber thefts.

They are the first official meetings on cyber security between the two nations in nearly two years.

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The meeting is partially driven by concerns among some American businesses who claim commercial thefts by Chinese hackers is costing them billions each year -- alleged intrusions that have gradually strained U.S.-Chinese relations.

U.S. officials said they met with the Chinese leaders to "candidly discuss ways to enhance cooperation" on cyber security matters.

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The two-day meeting is co-chaired by U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch, Homeland Security chief Jeh Johnson and China's State Councilor and Minister of Public Security Guo Shengkun.

China's state-run Xinhua News Agency cited "positive outcomes" from Tuesday's meeting with American officials.

"The two sides reached an agreement on the guidelines on joint China-U.S. fight against cyber crimes and related matters, and the establishment of a hot line," Xinhua reported. "They identified a number of cases for future cooperation on enhancing cyber security, reached further consensus on fighting cyber terrorism, and agreed on some specific programs of strengthening capability building in fighting cyber crimes."

Leaders from both sides will meet again Wednesday to conclude the meetings.

Both sides also reportedly agreed to hold another round of cyber security talks in Beijing next June.

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