03/17/2013 12:12 am ET Updated May 16, 2013

China Hacking: New Premier Says US Should Avoid 'Groundless Accusations'

BEIJING, March 17 (Reuters) - China and the United States should avoid "groundless accusations" against each other about cyber-security and hacking into each other's computer systems, newly installed Premier Li Keqiang said on Sunday.

Li's comments, at the close of China's annual meeting of parliament and a day after he assumed the premiership, come amid a war of words between Beijing and Washington over cyber-attacks and national security.

A U.S. computer security company said last month that a secretive Chinese military unit was likely behind a series of hacking attacks mostly targeting the United States.

Responding to a reporter at a news conference, Li said he "sensed the presumption of guilt" in the question.

"I think we should not make groundless accusations against each other, and spend more time doing practical things that will contribute to cyber-security," Li said.

"This is a worldwide problem. In fact, China itself is a main target of such attacks," he said. "China does not support, indeed we are opposed to, such activities."

U.S. Treasury Secretary Jack Lew will press China to investigate and stop cyber-attacks on U.S. companies and other entities when he visit China this week, a senior U.S. official said on Friday.

President Barack Obama also raised U.S. concerns about computer hacking in a phone call with Chinese President Xi Jinping on Thursday, the same day Xi took office.

(Reporting by Terril Yue Jones; Editing by Nick Macfie)



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