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    In this Sept. 16, 2018, photo, American flags are displayed together with Chinese flags on top of a trishaw in Beijing. The American Chamber of Commerce in China says Beijing will dig its heels in after U.S. tariff hikes and appealed for a negotiated end to their trade battle

    Beijing: Washington 'Making Something Out of Thin Air' in Spy Case

    © AP Photo / Andy Wong
    Asia & Pacific
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    2221

    Earlier this week, the US Department of Justice announced that Chinese Ministry of State Security officer Yanjun Xu had been extradited to the United States, where he was charged with attempting to steal trade secrets from an American aviation company.

    Addressing the US charges against an alleged Chinese intelligence agent accused of trying to steal trade secrets from an aerospace firm, Chinese Foreign Ministry spokesman Lu Kang told reporters that Washington was "making someting out of thin air."

    "We hope the US can deal with this in accordance with law," he told a press briefing on Thursday.

    The statement comes a day after Assistant Attorney General for National Security at the US Department of Justice John Demers announced that Chinese Ministry of State Security officer Yanjun Xu had been extradited to the United States and indicted.

    "This indictment alleges that a Chinese intelligence officer sought to steal trade secrets and other sensitive information from an American company that leads the way in aerospace," Demers said, adding that the case was not an "isolated incident," but rather, "part of an overall economic policy of developing China at American expense."

    According to the indictment, Xu, who has been in custody since April 1, sought to recruit aviation experts "often initially under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation."

    READ MORE: ‘Unprecedented’: Chinese Intel Officer Extradited to US Over Economic Espionage

    The Chinese officer faces four counts of conspiring to commit economic espionage, attempting to commit such espionage and stealing trade secrets, the department said.

    "This unprecedented extradition of a Chinese intelligence officer exposes the Chinese government's direct oversight of economic espionage against the United States," said Bill Priestap, assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division.

    The alleged intelligence agent's indictment comes amid an escalating trade war between China and the US, with Beijing striking back at President Donald Trump's $200 billion of new duties with its own tariffs on $60 billion of American products.

    During a UN Security Council Summit in New York last month, President Trump alleged that Beijing was meddling in the looming 2018 midterm elections in the United States, ostensibly targeting Republicans to express their frustration with Washington's trade policies.

    China, however, dismissed the remarks, adding that it "did not and will not" interfere in "any country's domestic affairs."

    Tags:
    espionage charges, economic espionage, indictment, spy, espionage, intelligence, China, United States, Washington, Beijing
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