China has demanded that the United States put an end to its spying practices, following reports that the NSA built backdoors into Chinese telecom giant Huawei's communications equipment and has been spying on the company for years, reports Reuters. A spokesperson for China's foreign ministry reportedly said that China is "extremely concerned" over the recent allegations and that it's asked the US for an explanation as to why it's been running this type of surveillance. "We always believe that internet communication technology should be employed for a country’s social-economic development, rather than internet espionage and monitoring," spokesperson Hong Lei said, according to The New York Times.
"China has already lodged many complaints with the United States about this."
The US and China have been issuing tense words over allegations of cyber espionage for some time now, particularly following a series of cyberattacks on American businesses last year that were believed to have been carried out by the Chinese military. At the time, the US warned that it would take action against cyber threats; now the Chinese government appears to be on the other end of things. "China has already lodged many complaints with the United States about this," Lei said, reports Reuters. "We demand that the United States makes a clear explanation and stop such acts."
The strong words follow reports over the weekend that the NSA has had a concerted spying effort focused on Huawei. This is only the latest battle over Huawei itself though: the telecom firm has long been accused of having ties with China's government, leading to a number of blocked business dealings in the United States over fears that its equipment might be used for surveillance. Those concerns apparently ran deep enough that the NSA began searching for a link between it and China's military. It's not clear if any link was found.
In a separate report, Reuters says that Chinese President Xi Jinping spoke with President Obama this morning about his concerns over cyber surveillance, urging the US to cooperate. Obama reportedly said that the United States' spying is not for commercial gain and that information retrieved is not shared with companies.