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China says up to United States to resume cyber security talks

[BEIJING] It is up to the United States to create conditions to resume regular talks on cyber security, China's foreign ministry said on Tuesday, as the two countries began three days of high-level meetings in Washington.

Cyber security has long been an irritant in relations between China and the United States, despite robust economic ties, worth US$590 billion in two-way trade last year.

An attack on the US government's Office of Personnel Management, revealed this month, compromised the data of 4 million current and former federal employees, raising US suspicions that Chinese hackers were building huge databases that could be used to recruit spies.

Last year China shut down a bilateral working group on cyber security after the United States charged five Chinese military officers with hacking American firms.

Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang said Internet security was something that the international community needed tackle together, as it was a common problem. "China and the United States had previously always had a good dialogue mechanism on issues of Internet security. Because of reasons that everyone knows about, and not because of China, this dialogue has stopped," Mr Lu told a daily news briefing in Beijing. "Speaking by seeking truth from the facts, resuming these talks probably needs the United States to properly handle the relevant issue to create conditions for dialogue," he added.

More than 400 Chinese officials are in Washington for the annual talks under the wide-ranging Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) framework, which will involve eight US cabinet secretaries.

The meetings come at a time of waning trust and widening differences between the two countries. US concerns have been mounting about Beijing's challenge to its dominance of global finance and about curbs on US businesses in China.