After months of political back-and-forth, top-level officials from US and China will meet next month to discuss agreements on cybersecurity and industrial espionage, reports The New York Times. The talks mark the first diplomatic push to resolve tensions since the issue of Chinese cyberattacks on American media and infrastructure targets first came to the fore earlier this year.
After months of reports of hacking from major US newspapers, a February report from security agency Mandiant showed evidence that a spate of attacks against US targets could be traced back to a People’s Liberation Army building in Shanghai. For its part, China has staunchly denied any role in the attacks, pointing to US cyberattacks on its own military websites. Intellectual property theft has been a particular concern in the attacks, underscored by a report last week from The Washington Post indicating that Chinese hackers managed to get access to confidential design documents for American weapons systems. The Pentagon has downplayed the documents’ importance.
"We need to get some norms and rules."
The talks are scheduled to start as part of the US-China Strategic and Economic Dialogue, writes The Times, a yearly diplomatic meeting between the two countries on a variety of issues centered on trade and finance. While government officials don’t expect the talks to bear any significant improvements in the short term, the hope is that they will lead to the creation of international standards of behavior down the road. "We need to get some norms and rules," said an unnamed senior official.