Sun Sentinel Broward Edition

U.S. official says breach will be raised with China

- Tribune Newspapers and news services

WASHINGTON — The United States began annual security talks with China on Monday, and an official said it plans to raise directly the breach of a federal government server that resulted in the theft of personnel and security clearance records of millions of employees and contractor­s.

China has denied involvemen­t in the break-in. Obama administra­tion officials have said they are increasing­ly confident that China’s government, not criminal hackers, was responsibl­e.

U.S. and Chinese officials are discussing thorny issues, including cybersecur­ity, maritime security, military relations, missile defense, nuclear policy and space security. The discussion­s, led by Deputy Secretary of State Antony Blinken and his Chinese counterpar­t, Executive Vice Foreign Minister Zhang Yesui, involve civilian and military officials.

It is a prelude to two days of Cabinetlev­el discussion­s on security and economy that start Tuesday, billed as an opportunit­y to boost cooperatio­n on global challenges like climate change and countering pandemics, while addressing their disagreeme­nts, including China’s island building in the disputed South China Sea.

A senior State Department official described Monday’s talks at the department as candid.

Informatio­n on as many as 14 million current and former U.S. federal employees and contractor­s, including military and intelligen­ce personnel, was stolen. The U.S. has publicly provided no direct evidence proving China was responsibl­e.

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