China Warns US Cyber Charges Could Damage Ties
China on Tuesday warned the United States was jeopardizing military ties by charging five Chinese officers with cyberspying and tried to turn the tables on Washington by calling it “the biggest attacker of China’s cyberspace.”China announced it was suspending cooperation with the United States in a joint cybersecurity task force over Monday’s charges that officers stole trade secrets from major American companies. The Foreign Ministry demanded Washington withdraw the indictment.The testy exchange marked an escalation in tensions over U.S. complaints that China’s military uses its cyber warfare skills to steal foreign trade secrets to help the country’s vast state-owned industrial sector. A U.S. security firm, Mandiant, said last year it traced attacks on American and other companies to a military unit in Shanghai.The charges are the biggest challenge to relations since a meeting last summer between President Barack Obama and his Chinese counterpart, Xi Jinping, in Sunnylands, California.Ties already were under strain due to conflicts over what Washington says are provocative Chinese moves to assert claims over disputed areas of the East and South China Seas. Beijing complains the Obama administration’s effort to shift foreign policy emphasis toward Asia and expand its military presence in the region is emboldening Japan and other neighbors and fueling tension.Beijing has denied conducting commercial spying and said it is a victim of computer hacking, but has given little indication it investigates foreign complaints.