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China says 'fabricated' US hacking charges jeopardise ties

China on Monday rejected the US indictment of five of its military officers over alleged cyber-espionage as "absurd" , warning the move threatened relations between the world's two largest economies.

BEIJING: China on Monday rejected the US indictment of five of its military officers over alleged cyber-espionage as "absurd", warning the move threatened relations between the world's two largest economies.
The indictment, "based on fabricated facts, grossly violates the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardises China-US cooperation and mutual trust," foreign ministry spokesman Qin Gang said in a statement.

Beijing has asked that Washington "immediately correct its mistake and withdraw the 'indictment'," he said, noting: "The US accusation against Chinese personnel is purely ungrounded and absurd."

The spokesman said China would also suspend the activities of a bilateral cyber working group due to a "lack of sincerity on the part of the US," and reiterated that Beijing itself was a victim of "severe US cyber theft."

In the first-ever prosecution of state actors over cyber-espionage, a US federal grand jury indicted the five on charges they broke into computers to benefit Chinese state-owned companies, leading to job losses in the United States in steel, solar and other industries.

Prosecutors said that the officers belonged to Unit 61398 of the People's Liberation Army. A report last year by security firm Mandiant said that the unit had thousands of workers operating out of a nondescript, 12-story building on the outskirts of Shanghai where they pilfer intellectual property and government secrets.

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