Google case 'will not derail ties'

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Chinese analysts yesterday tried to downplay suggestions in Western media that the Google case could lead to increased tension between Beijing and Washington, saying that bilateral ties are strong enough to withstand any disagreement.

It is "just a commercial dispute" that happens to a firm when it operates on foreign soil, said Niu Jun, an international affairs expert at Peking University.

In a move reflecting that opinion, the government repeated its standpoint that the issue is a technical matter, and not a political or diplomatic one, by having the Ministry of Industry and Information Technology (MIIT) and the State Council Information Office (SCIO) reply to US criticism.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs did not respond to US President Barack Obama on Saturday, when he asked for Beijing to explain the Google case.

Officials from the two ministries yesterday rejected US accusations of cyber attacks and described Internet controls as legitimate and reasonable.

Their remarks came nearly two weeks after Google said it might quit China citing disagreements with government policies and unspecified attacks targeting its services in China.

"Accusations that the Chinese government participated in a cyber attack, either explicitly or implicitly, are groundless and aim to denigrate China. We are firmly opposed to that," Xinhua quoted an MIIT spokesman as saying.

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