- The Washington Times - Thursday, October 31, 2013

China — no small player in the spy front itself — has nonetheless issued a stark demand to the United States over new allegations that surfaced Thursday regarding U.S. surveillance operations in Australia.

The Sydney Morning Herald just reported that Australian embassies have been used to carry out America’s spy operations. Australia has an embassy in Beijing. The newspaper also clarified that the alleged surveillance operations were conducted without the knowledge of most Australian diplomats.

“China is extremely concerned about this report and demands that the United States offers a clarification and explanation,” said Chinese Foreign Ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying, in a Reuters report. “We also demand that foreign embassies in China and their staff respect the Vienna Convention … and other international treaties and not get involved in any activities which do not accord with their status or post and harms China’s security and interests.”

Ms. Hua said China and Australia have high hopes to bolster each other’s economic development — and that this recent allegation does not dampen that partnership.

“We hope and expect that Australia can work hard with China in this regard,” she said, Reuters reported.

China maintains a vast security system that is widely thought to tap into other governments. Just a few months ago, information surfaced that Chinese authorities had been tracking various U.S. technology businesses — though China denied the reports.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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