China summons US ambassador over cyberspying charges

Press materials are displayed on a table of the Justice Department before Attorney General Eric Holder was to speak at a news conference Photo: AP
China\’s Foreign Ministry has summoned the US ambassador after the arrests of five Chinese military officers accused of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets.
Chinese Assistant Foreign Minister Zheng Zeguang lodged a "solemn representation" with US ambassador Max Baucus on Monday night, Xinhua reported.
China has rejected the criminal allegations, the first ever leveled by the U.S. against a foreign power for cybercrimes targeting American businesses.
U.S. officials have accused a unit of China\’s People\’s Liberation Army of hacking into the computers of U.S. companies working in nuclear technology, solar power and the steel industry.
The top U.S. prosecutor, Attorney General Eric Holder, said Monday that all nations engage in intelligence gathering. But he said the United States "categorically denounces" the military espionage that provided "significant" information for Chinese companies, including state-owned enterprises.
"When a foreign nation uses military or intelligence resources and tools against an American executive or corporation to obtain trade secrets or sensitive business information for the benefit of state-owned companies, we must say, enough is enough," said Holder.
China\’s foreign ministry denounced the charges as "fabricated" and said they would undermine trust between the two governments. In protest, Beijing said it is suspending the activities of a Sino-U.S. Internet working group.
In a statement Tuesday, China\’s Defense Ministry accused the U.S. of having "ulterior motives" and denounced what it said was Washington\’s "hypocrisy and double standards."
Jen Psaki, a U.S. State Department spokeswoman, said the United States regrets the action taken.
"We regret China’s decision on the suspension of activities of the working group. We continue to believe that dialogue is an essential part of resolving these and other cyber security concerns," said Psaki.
Whether the five Chinese military officers ever stand trial in the U.S. is an open question.
Holder said the U.S. is hopeful that Beijing "will respect our criminal justice system" and allow the accused military officers to be brought to trial.
"It is our hope to have these people stand before an American jury and face justice," said Holder.
Holder said the spying targeted five U.S. companies, including such well-known businesses as Alcoa World Alumina, U.S. Steel and Westinghouse Electric, as well as Allegheny Technologies and SolarWorld, along with the country\’s key steel workers\’ union.
White House spokesman Jay Carney said the indictments reflect U.S. concern that China continues to engage in cybercrimes despite protests by the United States.
"We have consistently and candidly raised these concerns with the Chinese government, and today\’s announcement reflects our growing concerns that this Chinese behavior has continued,” said Carney.
The U.S. identified the five military officers as Wang Dong, Sun Kailiang, Wen Xinyu, Huang Zhenyu and Gu Chunhui, all of whom face 31 charges, each of which each carries a 15-year prison term.
The charges pit the world\’s two biggest economies against each other.
The United States has an overall economic output that is twice the size of China\’s, about $16 trillion to $8 trillion annually.  But some analysts say that by other measures, China could within the year surpass the United States as the world\’s biggest economy.
Source: Agencies
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