US experts hail China-US consensus on cyber security as 'significant'

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Chinese President Xi Jinping (L) and U.S. President Barack Obama meets with the press on Sept. 25. [Photo/Xinhua]

U.S.experts hailed the consensus reached between China and the United States on jointly fighting cyber crimes, and step-up investigation assistance and information sharing on cyber crimes cases as a "significant" development that could prevent tensions from worsening in the virtual world.

"This is a very important agreement that has the potential to end a series of frictions between the U.S. and China," James Lewis, director of the U.S. Center for Strategic and International Studies' Strategic Technologies Program, told Xinhua. "Both sides were flexible and frank."

Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Barack Obama announced Friday that the two countries agreed that neither country's government will conduct or knowingly support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property, including trade secrets or other confidential business information.

The two countries also agreed to establish a high-level joint dialogue mechanism on fighting cyber crime and related issues, create a senior experts group for further discussions, and set up a hotline to prevent escalation of tension.

The consensus on cyber security was "an unexpected but significant and welcome development," said David Fidler, adjunct senior fellow for cyber security at the U.S. Council on Foreign Relations and professor of law at the Indiana University.

The agreement is helpful not only in improving the U.S.-China bilateral relations but also in advancing an international norm against economic espionage, Fidler said.

Matthew Waxman, adjunct senior fellow for cyber security at the council on foreign relations and professor of law at Columbia University, also called the cyber consensus a "significant" step in helping prevent crises from escalating, but added "we will have to wait and see how it is implemented."

The overall China-U.S. relationship can be made better by progress on the cyber security issues, said Herbert Lin, a cyber policy expert at Stanford University's Hoover Institution.

"Not all cyber space issues are areas of tension, and some of these issues may present opportunities for cooperative effort," he said.

"An example is that both nations have a common interest in protecting the stability of international financial system, a stability that could be disturbed by hostile actions in cyber space conducted by third parties." he said.

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