US, China to work on cyber code of conduct

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Kerry: U.S., China Committed to Cyber Code of Conduct

WASHINGTON (AP) -- President Barack Obama closed out two days of talks between U.S. and Chinese officials on Wednesday by raising concerns about Chinese cyber behavior and tensions over disputed seas of East Asia. He urged China to take action to reduce the tensions, the White House said.

Secretary of State John Kerry said China agreed to work with the U.S. to complete a code of conduct on cyber activities. He said intrusions have raised security questions and harmed U.S. businesses, and the two countries should be working together for a shared understanding of appropriate state behavior in cyberspace.

The high-level talks in Washington were a prelude to Chinese President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to the U.S. this fall, with both sides emphasizing areas of cooperation, particularly on climate change.

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US, China to work on cyber code of conduct
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)
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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On Wednesday they agreed to step up cooperation on preserving the ocean and combating illegal fishing. Kerry said that shows the two nations are "working hard to address differences and to find the areas of commonality."

On the economic front, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said China has committed to intervene in the foreign exchange market only when necessitated by disorderly market conditions.

The U.S. has long been concerned that China's currency is undervalued against the dollar, which helps its exporters. Lew acknowledged the renminbi has appreciated in value, and China's foreign exchange intervention has declined over the past year.

But Obama made clear that problems remain as U.S. officials met with leaders of the Chinese delegation at the White House on Wednesday afternoon.

"The President raised ongoing U.S. concerns about China's cyber and maritime behavior, and he urged China to take concrete steps to lower tensions," the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

State Councilor Yang Jiechi said China cracks down on hacking and is ready to cooperate with the U.S. on cybersecurity. But he urged the U.S. to "respect facts." China has recently denied allegations it was behind a massive breach of U.S. federal personnel records

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