The US and China agreed on Friday to work jointly against cyber attacks, an issue considered the single largest threat to relations between the two countries recently.
President Barack Obama was expected to raise the issue aggressively with President Xi Jinping during their two-day shirt-sleeve summit at a California desert resort.
At a news briefing after their first meeting, Obama said he and Xi agreed the need for rules and approaches “are going to be increasingly important a part of bilateral relationships and multilateral relationships”.
Obama said the two countries must strike a balance between competition and cooperation to overcome the challenges that divide them, and Xi pushed for a relationship that takes into account China’s ascendancy.
Xi said “this matter can actually be an area for China and the United States to work together with each other in a pragmatic way. And I’m happy to learn that within the context of the China-US strategic and economic dialogue, a working group has been established to discuss cybersecurity issues.” But both leaders said they had not discussed cybersecurity in detail yet, but they will be.
At the first meeting the two leaders took a view of the relations from “40,000-foot level”, said Obama. They will be having more intensive discussions later.
Xi is seeking a reset of US-China relations and putting it in a new framework of “major country relationship”, which will, he said “inspire future generations”.
Xi is expected to voice discomfort over Washington’s strategic pivot toward Asia, a military rebalancing of US forces toward the Pacific that Beijing sees as an effort to hamper its economic and political expansion.
“So we need to deepen our understanding, strengthen our mutual trust, further develop our cooperation and manage our differences so that we can avoid the traditional path of inevitable confrontation between major countries and really embark on a new path,” he said.