Chinese president Xi Jinping visits the USA in September, a visit expected to be afforded all the pomp and ceremony of a top-level bilateral leader's meeting.
Other diplomatic protocols are meanwhile being observed, including sniping through the media.
In China's case, that means state-owned Xinhua, which quoted Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying thus: "China hopes the United States will work with the international community to build a peaceful, safe, open and cooperative cyber space.”
(Cough – NSA – cough)
Hua also said Beijing feels accusations it sponsors and/or tolerates online espionage and crime are the result of “wild guesses and malicious slurs". Recent “slurs” may include allegations that China harbours a gang that attacks aerospace companies and that a China-hosted VPN is among the world's most prolific gateways for hackers. There's also tension on the telecoms front, with the USA making life hell for Huawei and summoning ZTE officials to appear in court.
Hua's comments also pointed out that “Cyber attacks tend to be transnational and anonymous.”
As indeed many are. And if China is at all sophisticated in its approach to digital espionage its spying efforts will appear to be transnational and anonymous.
The USA's may well be, but since Edward Snowden detailed so many of them it's hard to deny their existence or extent. Not that the US government feels it has done much wrong: former secretary of state Condoleezza Rice recently said, within The Reg's earshot, that ”the rules” mean the USA is allowed to spy in the name of freedom and democracy but China isn't allowed to.
Whatever the true state of affairs, and the “rules” of diplomacy, it appears that when Barrack Obama and Xi Jinping meet, both will want to discuss the extent of the other's online activities. ®