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Britain has accused China of mounting a “widespread and significant” campaign of “cyber intrusions” against the UK and its allies.
The Foreign Office said hackers acting on behalf of the Chinese Ministry of State Security had targeted intellectual property and sensitive commercial data from firms in Europe, Asia and the US.
It said the actions were in direct breach of assurances given by the Beijing government to the UK in 2015 as well as commitments made at the G20.
Foreign Secretary Jeremy Hunt said: “This campaign is one of the most significant and widespread cyber intrusions against the UK and its allies uncovered to date, targeting trade secrets and economies around the world.
“These activities must stop. They go against commitments made to the UK in 2015 and as part of the G20 not to support cyber-enabled theft of intellectual property or trade secrets.”