Chinese President Xi Jinping arrived in Washington on 24 September for a state visit and talks with President Barack Obama that are expected to be clouded by differences over alleged Chinese cyberspying, Beijing's economic policies, and territorial disputes in the South China Sea. Cybersecurity remains a hot issue in the US - Chinese relations as Washington is considering sanctions against Chinese companies and individuals it accuses of stealing US trade secrets.
Chinese delegation spokesman Lu Kang, said it was good the two countries were talking about it. "On cyber issues, I agree this is the issue that China and the US are still discussing and people will be looking at them very closely. It is true that we still have different opinions on that, but what is good is that both countries are discussing that. This is an area where we have already repeatedly made our position clear. China is also a victim of cyberattacks, cybercrime, and all those kind of issues just like many other countries. But we never hastily accused any other country, even if we could also like other governments just to set an example, where this IP address is located in this or that country, because on internet that doesn't make sense - just with the IP address," he said.
Responding to US allegations that China has been behind cyberattacks affecting American business and government databases, Xi insisted during his visit to Seattle that the Communist government in Beijing did not support such activities and pledged to work with the United States to fight cybercrime.
Chinese delegation spokesman Lu Kang did not make clear whether any deal on a "high-level" cyber dialogue was dependent on the United States dropping indictments against five Chinese military officials on hacking charges that led to the suspension of a joint working group on cyber issues last year.
However, he said any deal would depend on three principles of "mutual respect, mutual benefit and equality. Without that, I don't think there will be any cooperation," said Kang.
While Obama's aides say no formal cybersecurity agreement is likely, China's top Internet regulator suggested in a closed-door session with US executives in Seattle this week that a basic deal against cyberwarfare was possible, according to one person present.