China and the United States jointly pledged at the Fourth US-China Internet Industry Forum on Monday to increase collaboration to combat cyber crime and protect Internet security.
"We encourage and support international collaboration in the Internet industry. The US and China should establish a long-term mechanism to communicate over issues like Internet security, Internet policy and Internet legislation," said Qian Xiaoqian, vice-minister of the State Council's Information Office.
Chinese and US officials acknowledged the challenge posed by the rising rate of cyber crime, which has been linked to a number of cross-border cases.
"China and the US, as two major international players, should cooperate and lead other countries in combating cyber crime," said Robert Hormats, US under secretary of state for economic, business and agricultural affairs.
Hormats' remarks were echoed by Craig Mundie, chief research and strategy officer of IT giant Microsoft, who also called for the two sides to lead the Internet industry through open-mindedness and trust.
Mundie said technological innovation and cyber crime must be addressed for the two countries to move forward.
"Law enforcement efforts and cyber security policies need to be rooted in international collaboration," he said.
Qian noted that China has been a victim of cyber crimes like hacking attacks and Internet viruses, which damage the economy and people's lives.
"The Chinese government has always opposed network attacks and we hope to work with the international community to safeguard Internet security," Qian said.
Mundie also stressed that innovation is a means for the two sides to recover from the global economic crisis.
"Studies suggest that strong intellectual property protection promotes economic growth, creates jobs, increases international trade and spurs innovation. It truly is a win-win situation for everyone," he said.
However, basic rules need to be drawn up regarding transparency, open procurement and intellectual property rights protection, Hormats said.
"We call for a more open and transparent Internet environment to enable the free cross-border flow of information among different legal systems," he said, adding: "We should address, rather than retreat from, inevitable disagreements."
Qian emphasized that the two countries have different concerns over the Internet industry as a result of their different domestic situations and cultural traditions.
"But differences should not become an obstacle to cooperation. Our goal is to find common ground to cooperate in fighting cyber crime, while safeguarding network security," he said.
Qian said that China's Internet market will always be open and the country remains receptive to sharing the opportunities of the Internet industry's development in China.
"It can be predicted that China will accelerate legislation pertaining to information security and personal information protection, among other areas, to define the basic rights, obligations and responsibilities of various parties in cyber society," said Li Yuxiao, who specializes in cyber law at Beijing University of Posts and Telecommunications.
The forum, co-hosted by Microsoft and the Internet Society of China, focused on Sino-US exchanges and cooperation in areas such as cloud computing, cyber crime and the protection of online intellectual property rights.
By the end of June, China had 420 million Internet users, the largest in the world.