An indictment suggested he was lured to Belgium in a counterintelligence operation where he was arrested under a U.S. warrant on April 1.
We can not tolerate a nation stealing our firepower and the fruits of our brainpower.
United States prosecutors have unsealed charges against a collared Chinese national, accusing him of stealing trade secrets from American aerospace companies. The employee's talk included details about engines that were designed and produced by his company.
U.S. Attorney for the Southern District of OH said at a press conference Wednesday that Xu would invite the employees to travel to China for a so-called exchange of ideas and would offer to pay for their travel.
Assistant Attorney General for National Security John Demers said: "No one begrudges a nation that generates the most innovative ideas and from them develops the best technology".
The growing animosity is exacerbated by the raging trade war started by US President Donald Trump earlier this year.
Assistant director of the FBI's Counterintelligence Division, Bill Priestap, said the "unprecedented extradition of a Chinese intelligence officer exposes the Chinese government's direct oversight of economic espionage against the United States". "We will not tolerate a nation that reaps what it does not sow".
The ministry of state security is China's intelligence and security agency, responsible for counterintelligence, foreign intelligence and political security. He will face trial in federal court in Cincinnati, Ohio.
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The FBI stated in the complaint that Xu and other MSS spies targeted American technical experts, including those with GE Aviation, and paid for visits to China where they were coaxed into providing valuable technical information about US aircraft and space systems.
Justice Department officials said the case is the latest example of China trying to advance its economy at the expense of American firms and information.
"It significantly raises the stakes for China and is a part of the deterrence program that some people thought would never be possible".
Xu recruited the experts to travel to China, often under the guise of asking them to deliver a university presentation and passing himself off as an official with the Jiangsu Science and Technology Promotion Association [JAST].
A spokesperson for GE Aviation told The Associated Press that the company has been cooperating with the Federal Bureau of Investigation for months and that the impact to the company is "minimal thanks to early detection, our advanced digital systems and internal processes, and our partnership with the Federal Bureau of Investigation".
Trump on Tuesday said Washington had canceled "a couple of meetings" with Chinese trade representatives, claiming that China is "is not ready to make a deal". Impressed, Xu in March asked the engineer if it was possible to "dump" the material from his laptop to a thumb drive when the two met in Belgium, the indictment said.
Top figures in the infosec industry fear that the recent arrest of a top Chinese intelligence officer will spark an increase in cyber-attacks from Chinese hacking groups in the coming months.
Last month, the USA justice department confirmed the arrest of a Chinese citizen in Chicago on charges he was an undercover agent for a high-ranking Chinese intelligence official who was trying to recruit engineers and scientists. All were naturalized US citizens born in Taiwan or China.