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China warns US of retaliation after accusations of cyberspying

Published on May 20, 2014 11:45 AM
United States Attorney General Eric Holder (2nd left) announces the indictments of five Chinese nationals on cyber espionage charges for allegedly stealing trade secrets from American companies, during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington on May 19, 2014. -- PHOTO: REUTERS

BEIJING (REUTERS) - China has warned the United States that it would retaliate if Washington presses on with charges against five Chinese military officers accused of hacking into American companies to steal trade secrets, state media said on Tuesday.

The warning from an unnamed State Internet Information Office spokesman came hours after the US charged the five Chinese, accusing them of hacking into American nuclear, metal and solar companies to steal trade secrets.

It was the first criminal hacking charge that the US has filed against specific foreign officials, and follows a steady increase in public criticism and private confrontation, including at a summit last year between US President Barack Obama and Chinese President Xi Jinping.

The indictment is likely to further roil relations between China and the US. Besides cyber hacking, Washington and Beijing have grappled over a range of issues, including human rights, trade disputes and China's growing military assertiveness over seas contested with its neighbours.

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