China and US to discuss cyberwarfare treaty
Countries reported to be in discussions over ban on 'first use' cyberattacks on national infrastructure
China and the United States are discussing a cyberwarfare treaty, according to the New York Times.
The two countries are believed to be seeking agreement not to initiate cyberattacks against each other's critical national infrastructure during peacetime. The deal would prohibit attacks against power, utilities, communications and other infrastructure, but the parties are not believed to be discussing cyberespionage or theft of intellectual property.
The negotiations come ahead of a state visit to the US of Chinese president Xi Jinping on Thursday, and an announcement is expected as part of the visit, although the New York Times says any announcement may not be a specific deal between the two nations, but could be expressed in terms of support for cyberwarfare code of conduct that has been proposed by a United Nation's working group.
A ‘No first use' policy would in theory prevent either country from initiating cyberattacks against the other. US president Obama recently told a business event that cyberattacks were an increasing concern, and that he hoped to be able to arrange negotiations with China which would also have scope to include other countries.