Tech giant Google's (GOOG) dispute with China over censorship will be resolved "soon" -- one way or another -- company officials said Wednesday.
During congressional testimony Wednesday, Nicole Wong, Google vice president and deputy general counsel, said the company remains committed to stop censoring its Chinese language search engine, and if "the option is that we will shutter our .cn property and leave the country, we are prepared to do that."
"Google is firm in its decision that it will stop censoring our search results for China," Wong added, according to Agence France Presse.
In January, Google declared it would stop censoring its Chinese search engine after disclosing it was the victim of a massive, China-based cyber-attack. The announcement rocked the tech world and heightened tensions between the U.S. and China.
"Something Will Happen Soon"
At a media conference in Abu Dhabi Wednesday Google CEO Eric Schmidt said the company is continuing its talks with Chinese authorities. "I can't really say anything other than that we're in active negotiations with the Chinese government, and there is no specific timetable," Schmidt said. But he added: "Something will happen soon."
Schmidt's comments appeared to contradict with those made last weekend by Chinese vice minister of industry and information technology Miao Wei, who denied that talks were ongoing.
In response to Google's original disclosure of the cyber-attack, U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said the U.S. is looking "to the Chinese authorities to conduct a thorough review of the cyber-attacks that led to Google's announcement." The U.S. position is part of a new national push to combat Internet censorship worldwide.
But Schmidt said Google's negotiations with China are independent of the U.S. initiative. "The Google action was not in any way advanced or coordinated with the U.S. government except post-facto," Schmidt said. "Google's discussions are with the Chinese government, and they do not involve the U.S. government. The U.S. government's doing its thing unrelated to Google."
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