US Defense Secretary Leon E. Panetta believes Washington and Beijing must work together to avoid "misconceptions" in the volatile cyber arena.
"It's extremely important that we work together to develop ways to avoid any miscalculation or misperception that could lead to crisis in this area," Panetta said during a recent press conference with Chinese Defense Minister Gen. Liang Guanglie.
The US Defense Secretary made his remarks in the wake of a rather damning fiscal 2011 report to Congress that claimed numerous computer networks around the world were the target of digital intrusions, some of which appeared to originate in China.
According to the report, the cyber infiltrations focused primarily on extracting data or exfiltrating information.
However, Liang was quick to caution against blaming China for all cyber attacks against the United States.
"I can hardly agree with the proposition that the cyber attacks directed to the United States are directly coming from China. And during the meeting, Secretary Panetta also agreed on my point that we cannot attribute all the cyber attacks in the United States to China," he explained.
"[However], cyber attacks are important to all countries around the world, and concern politics, the economy, the military and people's livelihood. Therefore, I believe it is correct for all the nations to place such great importance on cyber security."
For his part, Panetta said he appreciated the general's willingness to try and improve the current cyber status quo.
"Both the United States and China have developed advanced technology with regard to the cyber arena... And it's true, as the general pointed out, that we agreed that there are other countries, there are hackers, there are others involved in some of the attacks that both of our countries receive," the secretary added.