On Saturday, US Defense Secretary Chuck Hagel openly accused China of waging a cyber spying campaign against the United States during a security forum in Singapore.
“The United States has expressed our concerns about the growing threat of cyber intrusions, some of which appear to be tied to the Chinese government and military,” he told an annual conference known as the Shangri-La Dialogue.
Hagel’s remarks came just days after China’s defense ministry dismissed a Pentagon report accusing Chinese hackers of accessing US weapons designs.
The report was the most explicit statement yet from Washington that it believes China’s cyber spying is focused on the US government and corporations.
Security researchers employed by the US firm Mandiant meanwhile recently told a congressional hearing that China is pouring huge amounts of cash into cyber attacks targeting business secrets.
The firm earlier this year linked China’s People’s Liberation Army to a long-running cyber espionage campaign.
China has consistently denied charges of cyber spying and claims that it is the victim of such attacks.