The United States and China announced they will work together on cyber issues.
China has long denied American accusations of cyber-spying, as citizens and businesses from both countries have been victims of the attacks.
Defense Secretary Leon Panetta said Tuesday cooperation was imperative between the cyber-advanced countries in order to avoid miscalculations that could lead to future crises.
"The U.S. needs to start laying the ground work for better understanding by the Chinese of what we expect from them in cyberspace," said James Lewis, a cyber-security expert with the Center for Strategic and International Studies.
Just six months ago, U.S. intelligence officials forcefully accused China, for the first time publicly, of stealing American high-tech data for its own national economic gain.
China's Minister of National Defense Gen. Liang Guanglie defended his country Tuesday during a meeting with Panetta at the Pentagon.
"I can hardly agree with the proposition that the cyber attacks directed to the United States are directly from China," he said.
Cybersecurity was just one of the many issues discussed by the two leaders during their meeting It was the first U.S. visit made by a Chinese defense minister since 2003.