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Obama raises cyber, maritime concerns at close of China talks

US President Barack Obama has raised concerns about Chinese cyber activites and tensions over disputed seas of East Asia. His comments come at the close of two days of talks with Chinese officials in Washington.

Obama urged China to take action to reduce tensions over the Spratly Islands and to curb cyber hacking, according to a statement from the White House.

The president's comments came at the end of

two days of talks

that U.S. officials had with Chinese officials which included Vice Premier Liu Yandong and were a prelude to President Xi Jinping's upcoming visit to the U.S. this fall.

U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry said that China agreed to work with the U.S. to complete a code of conduct on cyber activities.

There was progress on several issues. On Wednesday they agreed to step up cooperation on preserving the ocean and combating illegal fishing.

Kerry said that demonstrated that the two nations are "working hard to address differences and to find the areas of commonality."

Meanwhile, Treasury Secretary Jacob Lew said China had committed to intervene in the foreign exchange market only when necessitated by disorderly market conditions.

It has long been a concern of the U.S. that China's currency is undervalued against the dollar, which helps its exporters. Lew acknowledged the renminbi has appreciated in value, and China's foreign exchange intervention has declined over the past year.

However, Obama made it clear that problems remained.

"The President raised ongoing U.S. concerns about China's cyber and maritime behavior, and he urged China to take concrete steps to lower tensions," the White House said in a statement after the meeting.

For their part, State Councilor Yang Jiechi said China does crack down on hacking and is ready to cooperate with the U.S. on cybersecurity.

av/bw (AFP, Reuters)

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