China claimed on Sunday the U.S. has derailed cybersecurity cooperation between the two countries and that it doesn’t tolerate hacking.
The statement came a day after Yang Jiechi, a state councilor who deals with foreign affairs, held discussions on Saturday in Boston with U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry on topics that included cybersecurity.
“Dialogue and cooperation between China and the U.S. in the field of cybersecurity is faced with difficulty due to the wrong actions taken by the American side,” according to a statement on China’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs website.
Jiechi told Kerry that “China firmly opposes and cracks down on all forms of hacker attacks,” it said.
In an unprecedented move, the U.S. Justice Department in May charged five members of the People’s Liberation Army with stealing trade secrets from U.S. companies. It marked the first-ever U.S. criminal charges related to suspected state-sponsored hacking.
The indictment alleged the men belonged to Unit 61398 of the Chinese Army in Shanghai, which lead an eight-year hacking spree that stole intellectual property from companies including Westinghouse Electric, United States Steel and subsidiaries of SolarWorld, among other companies.
The documents included photos, such as that of Wang Dong, who allegedly went by the nickname “UglyGorilla” and Sun Kailiang, who is wearing a military uniform.
The trade secrets stolen included information about a nuclear power plant design and cost and pricing data from a solar panel company, according to the indictment. China did not refer to the criminal case in its statement on Sunday.
The legal action contributed to increasing tension between the two countries, which had been strained since Google accused China-based hackers of stealing its intellectual property in early 2010.
Google said it was one of more than 20 large companies struck by a cyberespionage campaign dubbed Operation Aurora by security experts, who contend the group behind those attacks is still active.