Law enforcement and cyber security dialogue a new chapter of Sino-US ties

Rabi Sankar Bosu China Plus Published: 2017-10-08 16:35:18
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By Rabi Sankar Bosu

The first Law Enforcement and Cybersecurity Dialogue (LE&CD) between China and the United States, held in Washington, DC, on October 4, 2017, reflects the two most powerful nations' broad engagement and long-standing cooperation on important areas of Sino-US relations, with frank discussions on immigration, fugitives, counter-narcotics, counter-terrorism, and cybersecurity. Truly, China and the U.S. are now in the process of expanding their ties which is crucial for the future of both countries. To the rest of the world, the Sino-US relationship serves as a paragon.

The first Sino-U.S. law enforcement dialogue is one of four China-U.S. Comprehensive Dialogues, launched by Chinese President Xi Jinping and U.S. President Donald Trump in Mar-a-Lago in Florida on April 7, 2017, to increase mutual understanding between the two nations, consistent with the results-oriented approach of two leaders. There is no doubt that the four China-U.S. Comprehensive Dialogues exhibited "positive" chemistry between the two competing nations since their Mar-a-Lago meeting.

Chinese flags and American flags are displayed in a company in Beijing on Aug. 16, 2017.[Photo: Xinhua]

Chinese flags and American flags are displayed in a company in Beijing on Aug. 16, 2017.[Photo: Xinhua]

It is worth mentioning here that the first informal "get-together" summit between Xi and Trump highlighted diplomatic and security dialogues, and dialogues on the economy, law enforcement and cybersecurity, as well as those on people-to-people exchanges as the shapers of their future relations. During the Florida meeting, Xi said, China and the US have 1,000 reasons to cooperate, and there is no reason for them not to engage in friendly collaboration. As such the top-level dialogues between the two countries show the willingness and dedication of the two sides to further develop their relations.

The first law enforcement and cybersecurity meeting was led by China's Minister of Public Security and State Councilor Guo Shengkun, U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions and Acting Secretary for Homeland Security, Elaine Duke. The dialogues between the largest developing country and the largest developed country are important. During his visit to China, US Secretary of State, Rex Tillerson, said on September 30, "Now more than ever, a strong, constructive relationship between the United States and China is important for the prosperity and stability of our two countries as well as the world."

During the meeting, Guo said that, proceeding from the dialogue, both sides should focus on collaboration and manage their differences to ensure that law enforcement and cybersecurity cooperation will become a highlight of China-US relations in the new era. In addition, they should make unyielding efforts to promote global security governance and build a community of shared future and common security. 

It is noticeable that in recent months, Beijing and Washington have been working to increase cooperation on law enforcement, repatriations, counter-narcotics, counterterrorism and combating cybercrime. The high-level talks also reached "wide-ranging consensus" addressing disagreements between the two countries with frank discussions on immigration and fugitives.

On Law enforcement cooperation, the two countries agreed to hold regular dialogues to bridge differences. Commenting on the first round of Sino-U.S. law enforcement and cyber security dialogue, US State Department spokesperson, Mrs Heather Nauert said: "Consistent with the results-oriented approach of this administration's policy toward China, the dialogue facilitated forthright and detailed discussions and resulted in bilateral cooperation on priority issues including immigration, counternarcotics, counterterrorism and cybersecurity." 

The Sino-U.S. law enforcement dialogue has ushered in a new era of Law enforcement cooperation. It is hoped that the U.S. government will be able to cooperate in helping China hunt down and return alleged fugitives. There are many fugitives from China living in the United States, who have so far been outside the reach of Chinese law enforcement.

For examples, Zhao Shilan, the ex-wife of a former Chinese official, Qiao Jianjun, has pleaded guilty to conspiring to commit immigration fraud related to EB-5 investor visas. Qiao Jianjun, also known as Feng Li, escaped to the U.S. with Chinese public funds. The Chinese prosecutors gave a priority list of 150 people to the US State Department. China wanted help in finding and repatriating money they allegedly embezzled, as well as the suspects. Chinese criminal suspect billionaire Guo Wengui fled to the U.S. about three years ago. In April, Interpol had issued a "red notice" for Guo Wengui.

Cyber security is essential to the safety and economic well-being of the modern world. It's highly encouraging to see that the inaugural Sino-U.S. law enforcement dialogue is deepening bilateral cooperation on a wide range of cyber issues and strengthening the U.S.-China strategic partnership by exchanging information on cyber threats and issues of mutual concern, and discussing possible cooperative measures. 

But it should be mentioned here that, as cybersecurity is a global problem, it's groundless to criticize China for waging cyber attacks against the United States. Therefore, cybersecurity should be a point of cooperation rather than a source of friction between both China and the United States. It's also encouraging that finally the two big powers have agreed to build a cyberspace that is peaceful, secure, open and cooperative.

As Guo Shengkun pointed out, the two sides should continue their programmatic cooperation on fighting cybercrime, cyber-terrorism and other areas, to build a peaceful, secure, open, cooperative and orderly cyberspace. It is hoped the two countries can work together in fighting international cyber crime in order to achieve a safe and secure internet for all nations and peoples.

Meanwhile, the first U.S.-China Social and Cultural Dialogue (SCD) took place September 28, 2017, in Washington, D.C. The one-day event, under the theme of "Live together for the next 50 years based on mutual understanding," was co-chaired by visiting Chinese Vice Premier Liu Yandong and U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson with a focus on seven cooperative areas – education, social development, science and technology, health, sub-national, arts and culture, and environment and conservation. 

During the first U.S.-China Social and Cultural Dialogue, the United States and China agreed to partner to promote educational opportunities in the United States for Chinese students, and opportunities in China for American students. China has welcomed the U.S. Embassy's "Education USA" public diplomacy programming. At the dialogue, Liu Yandong said that, for the China-US exchanges to move steadily forward over time, they should lay a solid foundation for Sino-US relations by considering the development of the bilateral relationship over the next 50 years.

However, at the same time it is relevant to mention here that, in recent years, a greater number of Chinese students have been studying in the United States. As of May last year, there were some 353,000 Chinese students studying in the United States, accounting for 34 percent of the total number of international students in the country, according to a report published by the U.S. Immigration and Customs Enforcement in May 2016.

But it is hurtful to see sporadic reports of injury, kidnapping or even murder cases involving Chinese students in the United States which are highly disturbing. The killing of Chinese scholar, Zhang Yingying, sent a renewed shock wave through Chinese overseas students in the United States. As such, it is high time that law enforcement agencies from the two sides set up co-ordination or even an emergency mechanism to cope with such problems.

Undoubtedly, the China-U.S. four high-level mechanisms have served as preparation for Trump's upcoming state visit to China in November. The two presidents have met twice this year, at Mar-a-Lago resort in Florida in April and in Hamburg, Germany, during the G20 summit in July. In those meetings, the two leaders exchanged views on bilateral relations.

It is anticipated that China-U.S. relations will be guided by an understanding of "non-conflict, non-confrontation, mutual respect, and win-win cooperation," as President Xi defined China's ties with the United States as "a new type of great power relationship." Surely, the US president's visit to China will be a defining one for the world's most important bilateral relationship.

(Rabi Sankar Bosu is Secretary of New Horizon Radio Listeners' Club, based in West Bengal, India)

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