The United States has accused China of hacking American vaccine research amid a global coronavirus pandemic.
In a statement, U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo demanded on Thursday that China halts the cyber theft activity. “The United States condemns attempts by cyber actors and non-traditional collectors affiliated with the People’s Republic of China (PRC) to steal U.S. intellectual property and data related to COVID-19 research,” Pompeo added.
“The U.S. calls on the PRC to cease this malicious activity,” the top diplomat stressed. “The PRC’s behavior in cyberspace is an extension of its counterproductive actions throughout the COVID-19 pandemic.”
The alleged hacking came while countries race to find a vaccine as the global death toll linked to the coronavirus disease COVID-19 rose on Thursday to roughly 303,000 worldwide.
Pompeo complained that China, where the virus originated, had not been as honest as other nations about the extend of the pandemic. “While the United States and our allies and partners are coordinating a collective, transparent response to save lives, the PRC continues to silence scientists, journalists, and citizens, and to spread disinformation, which has exacerbated the dangers of this health crisis,” he said.
Pompeo’s comments came a day after the Federal Bureau of Investigation and the Department of Homeland Security reported: “threats to coronavirus-related research” from actors related to China.
China’s Embassy in Washington condemned the allegations as “lies.”
But Pompeo accused the Communist-run Asian nation of covering up the earlier days of the outbreak and refusing to share information as ties between Washington and Beijing have sharply deteriorated.