Obama says China cyber attacks “not acceptable” ahead of state visit

US and Chinese diplomats hold “frank” exchange following cyber breaches

US and Chinese diplomats have met to discuss cyber security issues just days after President Barack Obama said cyber attacks against America are "not acceptable".

The senior government officials' meeting comes before China's president, Xi Jinping, is due to visit Washington later this month.

China's Communist party secretary for political and legal affairs, Meng Jianzhu, met with the president's national security adviser, Susan Rice.

The White House said the pair had a "frank and open exchange about cyber issues", among other topics, after Obama said on Friday that cyber attacks from China were "not acceptable".

He added: "There comes a point at which we consider this a core national security threat and will treat it as such."

China has been blamed for repeated cyber attacks against the US government as well as American firms, including the New York Times which produced a mirror site allowing Chinese readers to read its stories despite the Great Firewall of China blocking access to the regular site.

Other attacks rumoured to have emanated from China include a hack on the US government's Office of Personnel Management, which resulted in the leak of 21.5 million people's personal details in July.

Stolen information includes the health details, financial statuses, criminal records and social security numbers of current and past US government workers and some of their family members.

This attack is believed to have pushed Obama to issue a public statement on Friday, in which he also said that Iran and Russia's cyber security might now match that of the US.

He said: "We're going to have to get much more rapid in responding to attacks. We're going to have to strengthen overall networks."

The president also said millions of firms and ordinary people would need training in maintaining "basic cyber hygiene".

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