Senior US, Chinese officials talk cybersecurity

Washington (AFP) - Senior US and Chinese officials met to discuss cybersecurity and other issues ahead of Chinese President Xi Jinping's visit to Washington later this month, the White House said Saturday.

Cybersecurity is a thorny topic between the two powers, and China has long been blamed for cyber attacks on US commercial interests and sensitive government personnel records.

The discussions included a "frank and open exchange about cyber issues" between National Security Advisor Susan Rice and Meng Jianzhu, secretary of the Central Political and Legal Affairs Commission of the Communist Party, the White House said.

Meng also met with FBI Director James Comey and Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson, who convened a meeting between the Chinese delegation and representatives from the FBI, the intelligence community and the State, Treasury, and Justice Departments.

Word of the four days of meetings that wrapped up Saturday comes after President Barack Obama warned that cyber attacks from China were "not acceptable."

"There comes a point at which we consider this a core national security threat and will treat it as such," Obama said Friday.

Following a spate of hacks on US companies and government agencies that have been blamed on China, administration officials have pointedly let it be known that Chinese firms and individuals could face sanctions.

The move appears to be triggered in particular by a recent breach of US federal government personnel files that left millions of officials -- including some at the very top levels -- exposed.

Still, Obama will offer Xi a full state welcome at the White House during his September 24-25 visit.

Our goal is to create a safe and engaging place for users to connect over interests and passions. In order to improve our community experience, we are temporarily suspending article commenting