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In US-China talks on cyber conflict, a top Chinese general owns to dangers

At a press briefing in Beijing with Martin Dempsey, chairman of US Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Fang Fenghui offered some agreement on the damage of cyberattacks, a 'friction point' in US-China relations.

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US Joint Chiefs Chairman Gen. Martin Dempsey (l.) shakes hands with Chinese counterpart Gen. Fang Fenghui during their press briefing at the Bayi Building in Beijing on Monday. At the briefing, Fang opened the door to setting up 'a mechanism to enhance coordination and cooperation on cybersecurity.'

Andy Wong/AP

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Whenever US officials visit China these days, they come with a high-priority mission: to emphasize how much damage China-based cyberattacks are doing to the relationship between the two nations.

So, is China finally coming around to America’s point of view?

Visiting China for the first time as chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, Gen. Martin Dempsey arrived at the Chinese Defense Ministry Monday for a closed-door meeting with his People's Liberation Army (PLA) counterpart. Their talk lasted an hour longer than expected, an encouraging sign potentially signaling a substantive dialogue, senior US military officials said.

Cyberattacks figured prominently on the agenda. In an interview Sunday, Dempsey called it a “friction point” between the countries. 

In discussing Dempsey’s visit to China, Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel, for his part, called cyberattacks “the greatest threat to our security – economic security, political security, diplomatic security, military security – that confronts us.” 

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