The sixth meeting of the Sino-European Cyber Dialogue (SECD) was convened on 14 and 15 November 2016 in Hangzhou, China. The meeting was hosted by the China Institutes of Contemporary International Relations (CICIR) and The Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS).
SECD is supported by the Chinese government, a number of European governments as well as the European External Action Service. Overall, 36 participants and a number of observers attended the meeting. Nine European countries were represented, as well as one EU institution, with particular emphasis on foreign ministry cyber policy coordinators and civil society experts.
In the Hangzhou meeting, both delegations concentrated on issues relevant to international cybersecurity that are covered by the previous UN Group of Governmental Experts (GGE) on Developments in the field of information and telecommunications in the context of international security, including international law, norms of responsible State behavior, confidence building measures (CBMs), and Internet governance and related capacity building. In the sixth iteration, there was engaged discussion on the precise application of international law, the implementation and universalization of norms of responsible State behavior, and confidence building measures. The delegations discussed recent cyber operations and their effects on national security, and agreed that significant interventions in the internal affairs of another State is unacceptable. The effects of conventional arms control paradigms on alleviating risks in cyberspace were also explored. Moreover, both parties addressed the importance of critical infrastructure protection and national risk management, as well as the application of both under new legislation.
On Internet governance-related issues, the IANA transition and the ICANN reforms were welcomed as a positive development towards a more globalized ICANN that is accountable to all stakeholders. Both sides agreed that it marks the start of a new era in Internet governance, which still holds challenges for both ICANN and the broader community.
The delegates stressed the importance of a reliable functioning of cyberspace, and recognized the value that open dialogues and other practical CBMs have on enhancing mutual understanding, cooperation and de-escalation, and in ensuring the overall stability of cyberspace.
Looking forward, delegates agreed on the merit of exploring more concrete discussions on how to best apply international law to cyberspace.