On 21 April 2017, Australian and Chinese Government representatives attended the inaugural Australian-China High-Level Security Dialogue. The Dialogue was launched to promote discussion between the two countries in the areas of counter-terrorism, cybercrime and other important security issues.

According to a joint statement by both parties, Australia and China reaffirmed their commitment to cooperate on cybersecurity issues. The key commitments include:

  • supporting the work of the UN Group of Governmental Experts and to act in accordance with its reports;
  • establishing an information-sharing mechanism to assist in combating cybercrime and preventing cyber incidents that could cause problems between the countries;
  • working together against internet distribution of child sex abuse material, e-mail scams and other transnational cybercrime activities;
  • discussing options for joint operations against cybercrime; and
  • exchanging cybersecurity delegations and regulatory documents to enhance understanding, cooperation and mutual trust.

The second High-Level Security Dialogue session will be held in China in the first half of 2018. One imagines that this is a tricky dialogue to foster, but clearly Australia takes the view of better off having China “in the tent than out”. Read the joint statement here.