The United States began annual security talks with China on Monday, and an official said it plans to raise directly the breach of a federal government server that resulted in the theft of personnel and security clearance records of millions of employees and contractors.
China has openly denied involvement in the break-in. Obama administration officials have said they are increasingly confident that China’s government, not criminal hackers, were responsible.
U.S. and Chinese officials are discussing thorny issues including cybersecurity, maritime security, military relations, missile defense, nuclear policy and space security. The discussions, led by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpart, Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, involve both civilian and military officials.
It is a prelude to two days of Cabinet-level discussions on security and economy that start on Tuesday, billed as an opportunity to boost cooperation on global challenges like climate change and countering pandemics, while addressing their disagreements, also including China’s island building in the disputed South China Sea.