U.S. airs deep concerns over cybersecurity in China meetings

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U.S. airs deep concerns over cybersecurity in China meetings
China's Vice Premier Wang Yang speaks at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Sec. of State John Kerry, left, talk with Sec. of Commerce Penny Pritzker at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015. Roughly two weeks after Kerry broke his femur in a bike crash, another member of Obama's cabinet has been sidelined thanks to a fall from a bike. Pritzker was on a bike ride with her husband in Michigan when she ran over some gravel and crashed. Pritzker is now on crutches after bruising her left hip, although she reportedly did not break any bones. (AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Sec. of State John Kerry, left, talks with US Ambassador to China Max Baucus, right, at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Zhang Xiangchen, Deputy China International Trade Representative of the Ministry of Commerce of China at a press briefing by the Chinese Delegation at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice Premier of the People' s Republic of China, Liu Yandong speaks at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Sec. of State John Kerry at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Xie Zhenhua, Special Representative for Climate Change Affairs of China's National Development and Reform Commission, at a press briefing by the Chinese Delegation at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice President Joe Biden, left, walks past China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi, right, before speaking at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, left, with China's Vice Premier Wang Yang, right, talk on stage at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice Premier of the People' s Republic of China, Liu Yandong and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, right, shake hands on stage at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the U.S. State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Former Treasury Secretary Henry Paulson, left, and Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, right, meet on stage at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew walks to the podium before speaking at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the U.S. State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew, left, shakes hands with China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi, right, at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice President Joe Biden, center, speaks at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
Vice President Joe Biden speaks at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the U.S. State Department in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: U.S. Environmental Protection Agency Administrator Gina McCarthy speaks prior to a panel discussion on energy and environment cooperation during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) June 23, 2015 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Officials from both countries participated in the seventh annual U.S. China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to discuss bilateral issues. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, and U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker after they participate in a family photo during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), and Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) June 23, 2015 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Officials from both countries participated in the seventh annual U.S. - China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to discuss bilateral issues. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: (L-R) Former U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Henry Paulson, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, and Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, participate in a panel discussion on energy and environment cooperation during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) June 23, 2015 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Officials from both countries participated in the seventh annual U.S. Ð China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to discuss bilateral issues. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
Deputy Sec. of State Antony J. Blinken, left, with China's State Councilor Yang Jiechi, right, and members of the US and Chinese delegations during a meeting at the 7th US China Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) and 6th Consultation on People-to-People (CPE) at the US State Dept. in Washington, Tuesday, June 23, 2015.(AP Photo/Pablo Martinez Monsivais)
WASHINGTON, DC - JUNE 23: Delegation from both sides, including, front row from left to right, Chinese State Councilor Yang Jiechi, Chinese Vice Premier Wang Yang, Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong, U.S. Secretary of the Treasury Jacob Lew, U.S. Deputy Secretary of State Anthony Blinken, U.S. Secretary of Commerce Penny Pritzker, U.S. Secretary of Energy Ernest Moniz, and Federal Reserve Chair Janet Yellen participate in a family photo during the Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED), and Consultation on People-to-People Exchange (CPE) June 23, 2015 at the State Department in Washington, DC. Officials from both countries participated in the seventh annual U.S. - China Strategic and Economic Dialogue to discuss bilateral issues. (Photo by Alex Wong/Getty Images)
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The United States on Tuesday said cyber theft sponsored by the Chinese government was a major problem and stressed the need to keep Asian sea lanes open at annual talks with China.

In opening statements at the wide-ranging Strategic and Economic Dialogue forum in Washington, both sides expressed a desire for constructive bilateral relations, with China saying the two countries could manage differences and should avoid confrontation.

But tensions over security matters threatened to hamper efforts to deepen the massive economic ties between the two countries. China and the United States are negotiating a bilateral investment treaty.

"On cyberspace, in particular, we remain deeply concerned about Chinese government-sponsored cyber-enabled theft," U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew said during the forum.

Lew said the targets of this hacking were U.S. companies and did not mention attacks on government computers in recent months that U.S. officials have blamed on Chinese hackers.

The Cabinet-level meetings began on Monday with preliminary talks and a dinner and are slated to wrap up on Wednesday.

Earlier on Tuesday, U.S. Vice President Joe Biden said that China and the United States might not resolve all of their differences during the sessions but should commit to working on them.

"We have to keep at it, day after day after day after day," Biden said.

China's Vice Premier Liu Yandong responded to Biden by saying that differences could be managed "as long as our two countries adopt an overall perspective, respect and accommodate each other's core interests."

The meetings come at a time of waning trust and widening differences between the United States and China, even though they maintain robust economic ties that last year were worth $590 billion in two-way trade.

U.S. officials also worry about China's pursuit of territorial claims in the South China Sea, as well as Beijing's challenge to American dominance of global finance and restrictions on U.S. businesses in China.

In the opening session, Lew also said it was critical for China to move toward a more market-oriented exchange rate, repeating a U.S. mantra even though the International Monetary Fund has said the yuan is no longer undervalued.

More than 400 Chinese officials are in Washington for the talks, which involve eight U.S. Cabinet secretaries.

They come at a time when U.S. President Barack Obama has worked to secure congressional backing for legislation needed to speed a 12-nation trade deal, which is the economic plank of his "pivot to Asia" policy intended as a counterweight to China's growing influence.

The two sides will try to ease tensions by stressing areas of cooperation, including climate change, shared concerns about Iran and North Korea's nuclear programs, the fight against Islamist militancy, and support for global development.

Despite considerable tension over some issues, China is hoping for a smooth set of meetings to prepare for a visit to Washington by President Xi Jinping in September.

(Reporting by Lesley Wroughton, Idrees Ali and Arshad Mohammed; Editing by Jonathan Oatis)

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