China reiterates hacking offer after Obama comments

BEIJING (AFP) - Beijing on Thursday repeated its offer of international talks on hacking, including with the United States, after President Barack Obama stepped up Washington's rhetoric on the issue.

"China would like to carry out constructive dialogue and cooperation with the international community, including the US, on the basis of mutual respect and mutual trust," foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said.

"What cyberspace needs is not war but regulation and cooperation.

Her comments came after Obama said cyber threats affecting US firms and infrastructure were increasing, with some being "state sponsored".

"We've made it very clear to China and some other state actors that, you know, we expect them to follow international norms and abide by international rules," he said in an interview with ABC News.

"And we'll have some pretty tough talk with them. We already have."

Last month, a report from US security firm Mandiant said a unit of China's People's Liberation Army had stolen hundreds of terabytes of data from at least 141 organisations, mostly based in the US.

Hua did not directly address Obama's remarks. "We believe cybersecurity is a global issue," she said at a regular briefing in Beijing.

"China is also vulnerable in terms of cybersecurity and is one of the main countries that fall victim to cyberattacks," she added.

"The Chinese government attaches great importance to internet security and we firmly oppose and combat cyberattacks."