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China And U.S. To Expand Exchanges Amid Concerns Over Asia-Pacific And Cyber Security

posted 19 Aug 2013, 13:17 by Mpelembe   [ updated 19 Aug 2013, 13:19 ]

China and U.S. expand bilateral exchanges and military exercises amid concerns over Asia-Pacific and cyber security.

ARLINGTONVIRGINIA (AUGUST 19, 2013) ( POOL) -  U.S. Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel and China's Minister of National Defense General Chang Wanquan announced expanded bilateral exchanges and joint military exercises on Monday (August 19) as the two countries tackle differences in the areas of Asia-Pacific and cyber security.

Hagel said the measures, which includes the Chinese navy's participation in 2014 RIMPAC (the Rim of the Pacific Exercise), were intended to "build trust" among the two giants.

"To carry forward the facilitation of those efforts require institutions, institutions of common interests like what General Chang talked about this morning in his opening statement as well as some of the specific items I addressed: working groups for every general area of challenge, senior level leadership exchanges, which I noted a number in my remarks as did General Chang -- those are the forms that you build in order to address great challenges and issues and differences between our countries and that's what we're doing," said Hagel, who said he will visit China next year at Chang's invitation.

Monday morning, the two officials held talks at the Pentagon, where Hagel said he had "reaffirmed" Washington's policies on North Korea, the East China Sea and theSouth China Sea.

Chang said the Pacific is the area where China and United States have the most interaction and he hopes U.S. policies in the area will respect his country's interests.

"Secondly, the Chinese people always have their love of peace. China always is a staunch defender of the peace and stability in Asia-Pacific. We always insist that related disputes be solved through dialogue and negotiation. However, no one should fantasize that China would barter away our core interests, and no one should underestimate our will and determination in defending our territories, sovereignty and maritime rights," he said.

Earlier this year, the U.S. Defense Department underscored its concern about Chinese hacking in a report to Congress, accusing Beijing of using cyber espionage to modernize its military.

The report said the U.S. government had been the target of hacking that appeared to be "attributable directly to the Chinese government and military."

But Chang denied Beijing was behind the attacks, saying cyber security is an area of shared concern.

"We oppose having any kind of arms race in the cyber domain and we oppose taking use of information or technology to conduct any kind of operation in hostility toward another party in the cyber domain and we oppose taking advantage of the information, technological advantage to weaken other parties' sovereign control in this domain. And we are opposed of taking any kind of double standard in this domain. (English translation, then Chang saying:) China is one of primary victims of hacker attacks in the world."

President Barack Obama has made cyber security a priority of the administration and NATO has said it faces "regular" computer attacks, signalling concerns its infrastructure and secrets are vulnerable.