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China says charges are 'absurd'

Monday - 5/19/2014, 2:29pm  ET

BEIJING (AP) -- China's foreign ministry says the cyber-espionage charges announced today in Washington are based on "fabricated facts."

In a statement, Chinese officials say the charges will jeopardize what it calls "cooperation and mutual trust" between the two countries.

The charges were brought against five Chinese military officials. They're accused of hacking into U.S. companies -- including Alcoa, Westinghouse and U.S. Steel -- in order to get trade secrets.

The Chinese statement says Beijing is "steadfast in upholding cypersecurity." It says, "The Chinese government, the Chinese military and their relevant personnel have never engaged or participated in cyber theft of trade secrets." The statement calls the charges "purely ungrounded and absurd."

U.S. officials have previously asserted that China's army and China-based hackers had launched attacks on American industrial and military targets, often to steal secrets or intellectual property. China has said that it faces a major threat from hackers, and the country's military is believed to be among the biggest targets of the NSA and U.S. Cyber Command.

%@AP Links

155-c-17-(Sagar Meghani (SAH'-gur meh-GAH'-nee), AP national security correspondent)-"information was compromised"-AP National Security Correspondent Sagar Meghani reports six American companies were allegedly targeted. (19 May 2014)

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139-a-09-(Attorney General Eric Holder, at news conference)-"take its course"-Attorney General Eric Holder says he hopes Beijing cooperates in bringing the Chinese military officers to justice. (19 May 2014)

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APPHOTO DCCD104: Attorney General Eric Holder listens during a news conference at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, May 19, 2014. Holder announced that a U.S. grand jury has charged five Chinese hackers with economic espionage and trade secret theft, the first-of-its-kind criminal charges against Chinese military officials in an international cyber-espionage case. (AP Photo/Charles Dharapak) (19 May 2014)

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APPHOTO DCCD206: This wanted poster is displayed at the Justice Department in Washington, Monday, May 19, 2014, after Attorney General Eric Holder, Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Carlin, U.S. Attorney for Western District of Pennsylvania David Hickton and FBI Executive Associate Director Robert Anderson participated in a news conference where Holder announced that a U.S. grand jury has charged five Chinese hackers with economic espionage and trade secret theft, the first-of-its-kind criminal charges against Chinese military officials in an international cyber-espionage case. (AP Photo) (19 May 2014)

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