China calls for FBI cooperation in internet security, counter-terrorism

China calls for FBI cooperation in internet security, counter-terrorism

Kevin Lamarque

Meeting in Beijing, Public Security Minister Guo Shengkun, told James B. Comey that China was willing to enhance strategic mutual trust and the respect of each others core interests, Xinhua said late on Monday.

The two countries should "deepen law enforcement and security cooperation in the fields of internet security and counter-terrorism", the report paraphrased Guo as saying.

Comey said the Federal Bureau of Investigation was willing to push forward pragmatic cooperation, Xinhua said.

The report did not elaborate.

Hacking has been a sore spot in U.S.-China relations. In September, President Barack Obama said he and Chinese President Xi Jinping had agreed that neither government would knowingly support cyber theft of corporate secrets to support domestic businesses.

China has also been seeking more counter-terrorism cooperation with Western countries, which the West has generally been unwilling to give, fearful of complicity in possible human rights abuses in China.

China has blamed Islamist militants for violence in its far western region of Xinjiang, where hundreds have been killed in the last few years.

Rights groups and exiles say the problem stems more from anger at Chinese controls on the religion and culture of the Muslim Uighur people who call Xinjiang home, rather than from any cohesive militant group.

China strongly denies any rights abuses in Xinjiang or elsewhere.

In a separate report on Tuesday, Xinhua cited domestic security chief Meng Jianzhu as telling Comey that China also wants more cooperation on recovering corrupt officials who have fled overseas, and their assets.

The report also did not elaborate.

Last year, China pursued and brought home more than 600 suspected corrupt officials in a strategy dubbed "Operation Fox Hunt", as it widens a crackdown on deep-rooted graft launched by President Xi Jinping upon becoming Communist Party chief in late 2012.

(Reporting by Ben Blanchard; Editing by Simon Cameron-Moore and Nick Macfie)