Friday, February 15, 2008

BEIJING — Foreign Ministry spokesman Liu Jianchao reacted angrily yesterday to questions about his country’s involvement in two U.S. spy cases, calling the accusations groundless and harmful to bilateral relations.

On Monday, federal agents arrested a Pentagon official in Virginia and two persons in Louisiana in connection with one case, and a person in California on charges in the other case. All are accused of espionage activity on China’s behalf involving the acquisition of military communications technology, information about weapons systems for Taiwan, and Boeing Corp. trade secrets related to the space shuttle, according to court documents.

China has “taken note” of relevant reports, Mr. Liu said, but the “so-called accusation against China on the issue of spying is totally groundless.” The spokesman urged U.S. officials “to renounce Cold War thinking and do more to contribute to mutual trust and friendship between our two peoples.”

In announcing the arrests, Kenneth L. Wainstein, assistant attorney general for national security, said Chinese spies were among the most aggressive and were “particularly adept and particularly determined and methodical in their espionage efforts.”

Mr. Liu said that “for a long time certain countries have made complete fabrications and staged fake performances to accuse China; we are very tired of it.”

The spokesman was asked for his response to statements made by the FBI, saying China had recruited armies of amateur agents to conduct military and economic espionage in the United States, and that spying operations now approached the levels of the Cold War.

The Foreign Ministry said it had “responded to these accusations on many occasions” and reiterated that Washington was “making fabrications on this issue again.”

“This is not helpful for our bilateral relations and friendship between our two countries,” Mr. Liu said. “Such statements and investigations have been carried out previously many times, but they all led nowhere, so I say let’s put an end to such performances.”

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