China has retaliated after the US announced charges against five Chinese military officers for cybersecurity breaches against six American commercial targets — which represent “the first-ever charges against known state actors for infiltrating US commercial targets by cyber means.”

The US alleged that the Chinese military officers hacked into the computers of US organizations including Alcoa and Westinghouse Electric, stealing trade secrets and other significant business information.

China has hit back at the charges, with state news agency Xinhua citing foreign ministry spokesperson Qin Gang as saying that they are “based on intentionally-fabricated facts” and violate “the basic norms governing international relations and jeopardizes China-U.S. cooperation and mutual trust.”

The Chinese government has subsequently decided to put a stop to the activities of the China-US cyber working group, as it demands that the US withdraw the charges. Qin claims that the Chinese government, military and relevant organizations have “never engaged or participated” in cyber theft of trade secrets.

Whether China’s claim holds true can’t be independently determined, but it is rather ironic that the US charges come on the back of NSA spying revelations, with one of the many claims showing that the US government spied on Chinese tech company Huawei.

The US presumably tries to justify NSA actions by saying that it does not collect intelligence to provide advantages to US companies. “When a foreign nation uses military or intelligence resources and tools against an American executive or corporation to obtain trade secrets or sensitive business information for the benefit of its state-owned companies, we must say, ‘enough is enough,’ US Attorney General Eric Holder said.

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