10:44 GMT02 July 2020
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    WASHINGTON (Sputnik) - US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo condemned China-affiliated actors of trying to steal research related to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) and called on Beijing to cease such malicious activity, according to a statement issued on Thursday.

    "The United States condemns attempts by cyber actors and non-traditional collectors affiliated with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to steal US intellectual property and data related to COVID-19 research," Pompeo said. "The United States calls on the PRC to cease this malicious activity."

    On Wednesday, the FBI and Department of Homeland Security warned that hackers linked to the Chinese government were attempting to steal information from US institutions related to research on COVID-19 vaccines and treatments.

    Pompeo and other senior Trump administration officials have suggested without publicly releasing evidence that the novel coronavirus originated in China’s virology laboratory in the city of Wuhan. China has repeatedly denied the allegations.

    Last week, President Donald Trump said in an interview that he believed incompetence rather than malicious intent was behind the novel coronavirus outbreak in China. However, Trump has blamed the Chinese government for not informing the international community about the outbreak in time that resulted in the virus spreading around the world and causing hundreds of thousands of deaths and economic destruction.

    Tags:
    China, United States, hackers, COVID-19, Donald Trump, Mike Pompeo
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