by Huang Yinjiazi
BEIJING, July 9 (Xinhua) -- As Beijing raises curtain for the sixth China-U.S. Strategic and Economic Dialogue (S&ED) on Wednesday, there is little doubt that cyber security would be a hot topic. But any major progress on the issue rests on Washington's sincerity.
No matter how unpleasant the situation has become, the high-level strategic talk, a central mechanism in China-U.S. interactions, cannot afford to bypass the issue of cyber security, which has risen so quickly and triggered so much frictions in relations between the world's two largest economies.
Two moths ago, the otherwise progressing China-U.S. cooperation on cyber security took a dive after Washington slapped some fabricated cyber-espionage charges against five Chinese military officers.
The unexpected and baseless accusation from the United States, who itself, ironically, is knitting the world's largest wiretapping web, inevitably triggered strong protests from Beijing. It halted a joint working group with Washington on cyber security as a first step.
The incident has eroded strategic trust between China and the United States, one of the world's most important bilateral relationships. However, its damages are not confined in the spheres of politics and diplomacy.
Economically, both countries' companies are suffering a backlash on the land of the other.
Such Chinese companies as Huawei, are effectively shut out of the U.S. market, while Beijing is scrutinizing the use of IBM servers by state-owned banks. The developments are not in either country's interest.
In order to reverse this trend, which could lead to more and severer frictions, it is important that China and the United States resume their channel for communication and cooperation on the cyber issue, but not before the United States, which initiated the latest escalation, shows some sincerity.
For a start, it is advisable and imperative that Washington immediately withdraws the made-up charges against the Chinese officers and return to the course of dialogue and cooperation.
For the long run, China and the United States should build norms and enforcement mechanisms to guide the cyber space, as the newness and chaos of the cyber world make it one of the most important but least-understood emerging factor in global affairs.
Sound laws and principles would improve security, reduce the degree of distrust and the potential damage, as well as prevent the emergence of any Uncle Sam, for whom rules are just a lump of clay in the hands.
Still, cyber security is rather a multilateral issue than a bilateral one. The scale of cyber theft is so large to the extent that it hurts national interests of many countries where the Internet has become an important infrastructure playing a significant role in such fields as economy, social development and national defense.
If China and the United States, both pivotal players on the cyber realm, could work out an effective bilateral mechanism, it could be served as a crucial building block for multilateral efforts in this arena.