Ten alleged Chinese intelligence officers were charged in the US of economic espionage against French and American aeronautical companies.
The US Department of Justice said in a statement Tuesday that, along with the ten defendants, six other Chinese suspected of being hackers and two others, charged with acting as undercover agents in attacks on companies involved in the development of engines, are being investigated, based in the US cities of Arizona, Massachusetts and Oregon.
The defendants sought for at least five years to steal "data, intellectual property and confidential business information, in particular, an engine used by the airlines," according to the indictment, which is based on investigations by the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI, for its acronym in English).
These accusations mark the third time since September that the Justice Department is syndicating Chinese intelligence officials for stealing intellectual property from the US, according to the statement. In both cases, the accused are members of the State Security Ministry (MSS) of Jiangsu Province, near Shanghai.
One was extradited from Belgium in October and accused of seeking information about several aeronautical companies, including General Electric Aviation. Another was accused in September of gathering information on scientists and engineers working in the military sector.
Washington argues thatChina uses the cybernetics social network LinkedIn to recruit spiesand seize American trade secrets. Beijing, however,has rejected the US accusationsand considered them "unfounded."
US relations and China are going through bumps since US President Donald Trump began a trade war against China in July .
Beijing sees in the actions of Washington attempts to impose its domination and "repress" the economic growth, the scientific and technological developmentof the Asian country.