Beijing, Dec 21 (IANS) China on Friday strongly denied cyber attack charges by the US and its allies, accusing Washington of making "unfounded" allegations that the Chinese government was behind global hacking.
Foreign Ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying asked the US to withdraw the accusations "as soon as possible" and not to prosecute suspected Chinese hackers, Zhu Hua and Zhang Shilong, who have been linked to China's Ministry of State Security, Efe news reported.
The two men have been charged by the US Justice Department of conspiring "to commit computer intrusions against dozens of companies in the United States and the world" for economic espionage.
"We urge the US to immediately correct the wrong practices, stop smearing the Chinese side on cyber security issues, and revoke the so-called prosecution of (the) Chinese personnel to avoid serious damage to the relations between the two countries," Hua said in a statement.
She said China lodged a formal protest with the US and that Beijing "will take the necessary measures" to safeguard its own cybersecurity and interests.
The spokesperson said the US was shifting the blame of hacking and was involved in conducting "large-scale and organized network theft and monitoring activities of foreign governments, enterprises and individuals".
The US government earlier called on China "to act responsibly" in cyberspace after detecting an alleged broad cyberattack campaign against intellectual property and "sensitive" trade data in the US, Europe and Asia.
In a joint statement, US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo and Homeland Security Secretary Kirstjen Nielsen expressed their government's concern about an activity they believed violated the 2015 cyber commitments between Beijing and Washington.
They said Chinese hackers linked to their country's Ministry of State Security "hacked into multiple cloud and service providers in the US" and other countries.
As the UK and other allies joined the US in chiding China for alleged cyber attacks, Beijing said the UK's accusations carried "ulterior motives".
The British Foreign Office had said that a hacker group known as APT 10 had conducted a "malicious" digital attack to access "trade secrets".